Photo: Marcia Rubin
I like orchids as much as the next botanist. So, following a fab time at the annual Bobolinks at Byers Woods festival back on June 22, I made plans to visit nearby Mohican State Forest. There, I knew, the interesting Round-leaved Orchid, Platanthera orbiculata, should still be in bloom. It had been too many years since I had made the acquaintance of this orchid, and a visit was long overdue.
Fellow photographer Marcia Rubin joined me, and she was good enough to share this photo of your narrator in the humus and at eye-level with an orchid. Shooting Round-leaved Orchids is a challenge. They grow in the dense shade of summertime forests, and heavy canopy cover excludes much light. Flash is pretty much a necessary evil, and that tentlike thing attached to my camera is a Lumiquest Softbox, which softens the light from the camera's Speedlite. I even brought my tripod - which I rarely do - but I've found that I can steady the camera fairly well by laying on the ground and using my arms as braces.
Anyway, Round-leaved Orchid is a rarity in Ohio, barely extending eastward into Ohio. Where it does grow, such as in Mohican, there can be plenty though. Those big flashy leaves lay flat on the leaf litter, and the plant won't take much in the way of competition from other plants. It also, like many other orchids, is irregular in its flowering from year to year. We found only this one specimen in bloom, but saw other non-flowering plants.