Tiny – really tiny – but incomparable. This is Fringed Milkwort, Polygala paucifolia, an endangered species known from but a few Ohio locales. It forms small colonies, and this patch covered only a few square inches. The plants grow low and flat, basically hugging the ground, and it’d be easy to pass by.
We have forty-six native orchids in Ohio, and most are not overtly showy as are many of the tropical, cultivated species. Still, our plain janes have their charms – to some of us, these more obscure northern orchids are more charismatic than some of their gaudy brethren.
Long-bracted Orchid has an expansive range throughout northern North America and Eurasia. It is not rare in the core of its range. Like the milkwort, Ohio is at the southern limits of its distribution. Northern species such as this bear watching. Warming climate and subsequent increases in mean average soil temperatures would, theoretically, cause these species to retreat northward.
Thanks again to Eric for sharing these jewels.