While pursuing Ovenbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, and Hooded Warblers in a beautiful patch of West Virginia woodland this morning, one of our party glanced into the shadows and spotted a majestic wildflower. We were very pleased by this distraction, and many photos were made of a truly fine specimen of one of our most interesting orchids.
Showy Orchis, Galearis spectabilis, fairly glows from the dim shadows cast by towering hemlocks. Once seen, the plant grabs the eye, but it is quite easy to pass right by these little orchids. A big one - and this specimen was a whopper - might tower six inches skyward.
Galearis spectabilis = "Showy Helmet".
This botanical gem is yet another reason to sing the praises of those large fuzzy bumblebees - they are primary pollinators of this stunning orchid.
Yet another jewel found during this year's New River Birding and Nature Festival. Tomorrow, it's off to Muddlety.