Saturday, July 12, 2008

Phantom Orchid - Rare find

When we were at Mount Hood, of course my eyes were on the lookout for wildflowers. One of the most exciting finds was a little patch of Phantom Orchids. I couldn't remember what they were when I saw them, because if I have seen them before, it was only once and long ago. It took a little searching to find them online. The interesting website of Washington Native Orchids was a great help. I learned there that there are 41 native orchid species in Washington State. Most of the orchids are very fragile and the plant dies immediately if the flower is picked or the plant is transplanted. They need certain fungi that are the soil where they grow. Some only live in old growth forest.

Phanton Orchids are leafless and completely white. They don't use photosynthesis to manufacture energy for the plant. Instead they are "parasites using fungal intermediaries to withdraw nutrients from other plants." You can learn more about it here.

This group of 4 - 6 Phantom orchids were found on the left side Whatam Lake Road, not far past the road block and the slide area. Whatam Lake Road is on the north side of Mt. Hood, out of Hood River, north of Lost Lake.

4 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Ann@His Grace To Me said...

How beautiful and fascinating! I'm really drawn to this particular flower of all of the ones you've posted. I've come back several times just to take a look!

Pamela said...

There was one that grew in our trees that we called Inidan Pipe...
I'm not sure if it was an orchid.

It was always such a delight to find one. As though it was a treasure find.

We never picked them. Mama would have tanned our hides!

Theresa said...

Wow! You must have been very excited to find this! It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful!!