Friday, June 19, 2015

Bog Flowers

Four Pink Flowers 

Swamp Pink Arethusa bulbosa
A visit to a sphagnum bog this week could give you a surprise.  There are often beautiful flowers in bloom now in that habitat.  Shown above is Swamp Pink (Dragon's-Mouth), a small but beautiful orchid.  It stands 12 to 25 cm tall (5-10 inches) and does not produce its single leaf until after flowering is finished.  It is a beautiful deep magenta color.  The three erect 'fingers' standing upward are really sepals.  The pink hood covers the blotched, crested lip.  A close look at this small gem reveals its beauty.  

Pink Lady's-Slipper Cypripedium acaule

Pink Lady's-Slipper Cypripedium acaule
The Pink Lady's-Slipper (Moccasin-Flower) is a fairly common orchid in bloom now in acid woodlands and bogs.  Pink is the most common color but in the Fredericton area white ones are common.  It grows 12 to 35 cm high (5-15 inches).  It has 2 stemless basal leaves giving rise to another one of its names, Stemless Lady's-Slipper.  As you can see, the 3 sepals on this plant are green, unlike the Swamp Pink where they look like petals.  The lip of this flower is 2 to 5 cm long (1-2 in), bigger than the Swamp Pink flower.

Bog Laurel Kalmia polifolia
Bog Laurel (Pale Laurel) grows in sphagnum bogs.  Its pink colour is very pale and its flower is shallow dish-shaped.  Its leaves are dark green and elliptical.  The stem is woody and it grows 15 to 60 cm (6 to 24 inches) high.  The anthers are a burgundy colour and when an insect lands on the flower, the stamens fold around it, holding it in place.  This forces the insect to struggle to free itself and in the process it picks up pollen from the anthers.  The stamens then straighten out, getting ready for the next insect.

 Rhodora is a common bushy flower this time of year growing in bogs, peaty lowlands, and barrens.

Rhodora Rhododendron canadense
Its flower is large and showy with a 3-lobed upper lip, 2 narrow petals below and fully exposed stamens and pistils.  This flower is very common in New Brunswick and can be seen along roadsides.   It grows 30 to 90 cm high (1 to 3 ft).  The leaves are light green and oval-shaped.  

Nature is full of beauty and wonder.  Taking time to explore is very worthwhile this time of year.  

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