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Purple Fringed Orchid

When I first started to take notes on our wildflowers I was much surprised to learn we had orchids here in Nova Scotia; I though they were peculiar to the tropical parts of our world: Nova Scotia has its full share of beautiful orchards and some of them can be easily found, but no less beautiful in their graceful presentation. The Purple Fringed Orchid can be more often found in the wet ditches along the road side, as anywhere else. These beautiful little orchids (one must get down and examine them carefully) present as a frilly lavender torch standing erect no more than 10". With a careful look one will see that the stem is clustered half way up to the top with numerous tiny little orchids, each exquisite. The flower consists of an "upper sepal and 2 lateral petals, erect; lateral sepals ovate, spreading; lip petal with 3 fan-shaped, fringed lobes and backward pointing spur; sepal and petals similarly colored." (Audubon.) The stem beginning at the bottom is sheathed with lanceolate leaves.

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Peter Landry

2011