blue Calypso bulbosa

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by lord andrew barham, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. lord andrew barham

    lord andrew barham Member VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Back in the mid 1990s I was working up in the Cariboo near Big Lake helping to do research on a Forestry study. We were staying on a small lake (whose name I've forgotten) within the UBC Research Forest. Anyway, being a bit of a Botanist and someone who likes nothing better than hiking about looking for and observing interesting plants, I went for a walk around the lake (and nearly had a run in with a Grizzly – but that's another story!). Anyway, as I walked, looking all around me, but mostly groundwards at whatever plant life could be seen, I happened to notice what I thought was an intense blue violet under the understory. I got down to examine it more closely to discover instead, that it was a specimen of Calypso bulbosa, but one of an intense blue colour. There are supposedly no blue orchids in North America outside of the Florida Panhandle, including Hawaii, so I was rather surprised. At the time, I didn't really have the time or the opportunity to look for a colony of these plants, just in case there might be one nearby of which this was an outlier, and I always intended to go back there someday to find out. Alas, that has so far not happened. I am curious to know if anyone else has encountered any blue fairy slippers.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Have never heard of anything like this. Too bad you didn't take a photo using film that would capture the exact tinting or nearly so.
     
  3. lord andrew barham

    lord andrew barham Member VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Didn't have a camera in those days I'm afraid – they were far too expensive for undergrads living on shoestring budgets! I have a lovely digital camera now, with all sorts of macros and a 35 to 300 mm zoom telephoto lens. If I do get back up there someday (and I would sure like to, despite the attendant dangers of bumping into foraging grizzlies from time to time) I shall be sure to take my camera with me.
     
  4. lord andrew barham

    lord andrew barham Member VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    post script – I did inform someone from a local orchid society about it and they were quite interested, but never pursued this further.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hopefully nobody then went and dug it up. There are reasons why exact locations of rare orchids not given in some books and on some web sites.
     
  6. lord andrew barham

    lord andrew barham Member VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I doubt if anyone else would have seen it. The guy who looked after tha place back then wasn't especially interested in botany (he was more of a twitcher.) though his wife was into botany. But I never told anyone exactly where I saw it, and you'ld have to look pretty carefully to find it.
     
  7. prem

    prem Member

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    There are noted coerulea forms of many standard pink orchids (Cattleya, Laelia, Bletilla, etc.), and there have been noted coerulea forms of North American native terrestrials - Triphora trianthophora fma coerulea, Calopogon barbatus fma lilacinus. It would not surprise me in the least if you found a coerulean Calypso, although such a find would be rare and worthy of chronicling by a taxonomist.

    ---Prem
     
  8. lord andrew barham

    lord andrew barham Member VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    It doesn't surprise me to learn that blue colour forms of some of our native terrestrial orchids exist, even though all of my wild flower books and the big book of North American orchids avere to the contrary. Instead, it has always seemed rather odd to me that they don't exist when one considers that blue orchids are commonplace in Europe. The Pyramid Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) for example, is so common in the Channel Islands these days as to be almost a weed.
     

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