Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Ontario is home to many species of wild orchids, but they are not widespread nor easy to find in our region. The Bruce Peninsula is known for its diversity of orchids and last weekend an orchid festival was held near Tobermory at Bruce Peninsula National Park. I have been trying to find at least one wild orchid on our area and asked a local naturalist for some tips on where they might be growing.
My directions were to park on a dirt road, walk on a certain trail past the first intersection and to veer right into a forest. Just past a creek I was to go off the trail and look around the swamp where large skunk cabbage plants are plentiful. The woods were beautiful with many types of wild ferns and wildflowers. I have seldom seen a place where native plant species predominate so completely.
Poison ivy was growing in large and small patches and I did my best to keep away from it. After an hour of searching, I found what I was looking for. There were only two flowers but they were perfect. I have heard there are large yellow lady's slippers and pink lady's slippers growing in local ditches and marshes but they are hard to find too. Like all treasure hunts, the search is as much of an adventure as the discovery.