White Fringeless Orchid; Monkey-faced Orchid
Platanthera integrilabia / Orchid Family
August 1, 2008
When Dr. Thomas Barnes (a professor at the University of Kentucky) emailed me and asked if I'd like to come up and look for this orchid I jumped at the chance! The area had been burned the year before to control encroaching weeds, so the plants were about a week behind their expected blooming schedule. We saw lots of these orchids in bud, but only one open flower. What a disappointment to drive over 100 miles to find just one flower! We were headed back up the hill to move on to another site when Tom's friend Lowell casually said, "Here's one with a lot of flowers." That one plant justified the whole trip (and the muddy boots and the chiggers)! I was amazed at how long the spurs are on these flowers, it must be pollinated by an insect with a really long tongue, like a butterfly! The following photo shows a close-up of a single flower, which may better show how it gets the name Monkey-face Orchid.