Monday, May 27, 2013

Orchid Hunting in the Leavenworth Area

May 16 and 17 I visited the Leavenworth area to do some orchid hunting and visited five locations in two days.  As is always the case, I found much more than native orchids to photograph though I did find plenty of them also.

One of the orchids I found was the Western Fairy Slipper.  I found them a a higher elevation and they were at the peak of their bloom with some very nice clumps of them to be found as well including a double-leaf variety (they ordinarily have just one leaf).

I also found a few plants of the Clustered or Brownie Lady's Slipper, the smallest and rarest of our native slippers.  I looked for them in another location as well and did not find them, though they had been reported there.

The Western Spotted Coralroot was also at its peak, but I did not find it either at another location where I had seen it previously.  I suspect, however, that what I had previously seen was the ordinary and not the western variety of this species.  The ordinary variety blooms later.

At three locations I found the Mountain Lady's Slipper getting ready to bloom, but they were not yet open.  One of the locations was a new for me, but a friend had told me they were there and I finally found them.

One highlight of the trip was not an orchid but a Lewisia, Lewisia tweedyi, the Mountain Rose.  They were also at the peak of their bloom season and in several locations were everywhere to be found.  This has to be one of our most beautiful wildflowers.

Another wildflower I saw in bloom for the first time.  On other occasions I had always been too late and had found only seedpods.  This time I found it, the Brownie Peony, in flower though only a few flowers were left.

Naked Broomrape, a leafless and parasitic plant without chlorophyll was also blooming.  It is only a few inches tall but its color always makes it stand out and It was found where expected in wetter locations where it parasitizes Sedums and Saxifrages.

Other wildflowers were the Arrowleaf and Serrate Balsamroots, the latter quite rare, Western Trilliums (mostly finished blooming), Hooker's Fairybells, Wood Violets, Upland and Menzie's Larkspurs, Harsh Paintbrush, Shrubby Penstemon, and Lyall's Mariposa Lilies.

Saw a lot of mushrooms and fungi as well, most of which I am completely unable to identify.  One is a coral fungus, probably  the Crown-tipped Coral and another a cup fungus, but beyond that I do not know.  If anyone is able to help with ID's it would be much appreciated.

The day was overcast and there were not a lot of opportunities for landscape shots, but these are a few that I did take of Chiwaukum Creek and Derby Canyon, two of the places I visited and to which I hope to return shortly.


  1. I do not have a mushroom text and am woefully deficient on knowledge. I think I passed by a lot of Shitake this weekend. The orange cups were everywhere in the pine woods

    this book

    "The New Wild and Savory Mushroom"

    has been a mainstay for years. My Mom had the original .

    1. Yes, I wish I knew more. I saw a what I think were white Chanterelles but didn't see any point in gathering them because I wasn't sure.


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