Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Crane-fly Orchid, Wildflower Wednesday

I seldom have the stars line up to be able to participate in Gail's Wildflower Wednesday post. Yesterday while walking through the garden I happened on a number of happy surprises. Crane-fly Orchid, Tipularia discolor is one of those surprises. There are multiple spots on my property where this evasive native pops up. I say evasive because it disappears over the course of the spring and early summer, then surprise- a flower stalk in August/September.
One might walk by this cluster of leaves in the woods. The ovate acute leaf is green with smooth (entire) margins, green on top sometimes with small purple spots.  I came across these leaves in March and made a note to come back to this spot late summer.
March 28, 2018 Tipularia discolor
 The underside of the leaf is purple, making this identification very easy. See how distinctive the coloring is? This orchid's native range is pretty large, as far north as New York, west to Texas and Oklahoma, and south to Florida. Look for this perennial in woodlands in humus rich soils. I used the term evasive because from year to year it might disappear, this could be due to drought conditions. 

March 28, 2018
My surprise in the woods yesterday- a flower stalk!! I think it is a little early to see the flower stalk, though this has been a crazy year weather-wise. This little beauty is difficult to photograph, even the slightest breeze makes it dance. It is pollinated by moths via pollinaria (specialized structures that contain pollen in orchids) that attaches to the moth that carries it to other flowers. 

July 24, 2018 Tipularia discolor bloom
 See how tiny these are? 

Please visit Gail's blog to see her post and the links to other native wildflower posts.

©Copyright 2018 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. That's a cool find. We don't have many orchids here...the soil is not friendly to them, but love seeing yours.

  2. What an excellent find! This is a new plant for me. Thanks for educating me!

  3. I’ve always enjoyed Tipularia, too. Love its interesting life cycle — a friend of mine studied its biology and tracked the size of corms correlated to flowering frequency, etc. It’s a greatplant!

    1. I was so thrilled to find these flower stalks. thanks Lisa.

  4. That's a beauty, and you took some amazing photos! Thanks for sharing your happy discovery. :)

  5. Very interesting!
    Have a wonderful day!

  6. Great post Janet! I have several significant colonies of these orchids in our woods. They are lovely. Ours finished blooming several weeks ago.


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