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Grass Pink Arethusa bulbosa

Phonetic Spelling
ar-e-thew-sa bul-BOH-suh
Description

Dragon's Mouth Orchid is a native perennial herbaceous wildflower in the orchid family that is native from Canada south to the Carolinas. It is found the mountains of North Carolina and prefers boggy sites, swamps, wet meadows and especially sphagnum bogs.  It is generally a small plant, growing to a foot tall, although it has been known to reach 3 feet. It features a smooth stalk bearing tubular sheathing, nearly bladeless leaves, and topped by a single fragrant pink flower per stem. It  blossoms in spring to early summer with the grass-like leaf following. They are easy to overlook in their native habitat.

The plant is named for the fountain nymph Arethusa and the flower suggests an animal's open mouth. The unusual lip-like petal serves as a platform for insects, especially bumblebees, that enter the flower for nectar and leave with powdery pollen masses.

It is considered endangered and listed as "critically imperiled" in North Carolina. Transplanting this orchid from the wild is rarely successful and they are generally not sold commercially.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or other problems.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#pink flowers#NC native#summer flowers#magenta#magenta flowers#orchid#early summer flowers#wet soils tolerant#bog gardens#herbaceous wildflower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#pink flowers#NC native#summer flowers#magenta#magenta flowers#orchid#early summer flowers#wet soils tolerant#bog gardens#herbaceous wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Arethusa
    Species:
    bulbosa
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern Canada to Central and Eastern US south to SC
    Distribution:
    CT , DC , DE , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , VA , VT , WI Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
    Wildlife Value:
    bumblebees suck small amounts of nectar from the fragrant flowers
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is an erect capsule, ¾ to 1¼ inches long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Forms a single flower (rarely two) with three solid pink sepals that are splayed erect over the flower. Two petals similar to the sepals form a hood over the showy lower lip. The lower lip curves out and down revealing wrinkled edges and purple speckling with fleshy white to yellow bristles. Inflorescence is terminal; floral bracts minute.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Flower stem with several tight narrow sheaths and an upper sheath-like leaf that extends after flowering to a narrow grass-like blade 7 to 10 inches long. Leaf is solitary and basal.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems and slender and scapose and, at base, a bulbous corm.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil