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Tuberous Grass Pink Calopogon tuberosus var. tuberosus

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Calopogon pulchellus
Phonetic Spelling
kal-oh-POH-gon too-ber-OH-sus too-ber-OH-sus

Grass Pink is a herbaceous perennial orchid, usually up to 3 feet tall, unbranched, with a single, basal, grasslike leaf. The central stem terminates in a spike of 2 to 15 fragrant flowers 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. The flowers bloom in summer and range in color from magenta to light pink with a cluster of yellow, stamen-like hairs at the top of the bloom. White flowers do appear, but are rare. The flowers bloom sequentially from the bottom to the top of the floral spike. In its native habitat, Grass Pink grows in savannas, floating peat mats, and in the bogs of the North Carolina Piedmont and mountains.

Grass Pink prefers full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and soil containing some sand and/or peat. It grows best in evenly moist to wet, rich, well-draining soils in full sun, although it can tolerate various soil types. You can amend planting locations with plenty of sand and peat to ensure proper drainage. The plant is cold hardy in USDA Zones 3-9. You can obtain this orchid from specialist orchid nurseries and it can be cultivated in gardens if its requirements are met, however, wild orchids should never be collected. In some states, this orchid is now rare or listed as endangered due to habitat destruction and unscrupulous collecting. You should only purchase nursery propagated plants from reputable growers. Like other orchids, Grass Pink Orchid can be vulnerable to browsing by White-tailed Deer and other herbivores.

The genus name Calopogon comes from the Greek kalos meaning "beautiful" and pogon meaning "beard" for the yellow, stamen-like hairs at the top of the flower which attract pollinators. The epithet tuberosus means "tuberous" and refers to the underground corms of this species.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No major pest or disease problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
#bumblebee friendly#NC native#orchid#food source summer#Coastal OBL#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FACW#native orchid#bee friendly#Audubon#perennial#wildflower
Cultivars / Varieties:
#bumblebee friendly#NC native#orchid#food source summer#Coastal OBL#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FACW#native orchid#bee friendly#Audubon#perennial#wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Calopogon tuberosus
    Life Cycle:
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada to Eastern United States, Bahamas to Cuba.
    Widely distributed within the eastern United States and South Eastern Canada.
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant attracts bees, bumblebees and other insects.
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
  • Cultural Conditions:
    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:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fruit Type:
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fertile flowers are replaced by seed capsules that are about ¾ of an inch long and ellipsoid-ovoid in shape; they eventually break open to release numerous tiny seeds, which are distributed by the wind. Fruit displays from July to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Flower Shape:
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Two to fifteen flowers, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, in a spike at the end of a central stem. The rachis of this floral spike is green to reddish purple, terete, and glabrous. Each flower consists of 3 petaloid sepals, 3 petals, an exposed reproductive column, and an inferior ovary. Both the sepals and petals (excluding the petal that has been modified into a lip) are pink to deep rosy pink and may have faint veins of dark rosy pink. The sepals are ovate or broadly oblong-ovate in shape, while the petals are broadly elliptic or elliptic-ovate in shape. Depending on the stage of development, both petals and sepals are spreading and more or less incurved from their tips; their upper surfaces are flat to somewhat concave. The third petal has been modified into an upper lip about ¾ of an inch long. This upper lip is linear in shape (grooved above and convex below), except toward its tip, where it has been widened by 2 lateral lobes. At the center of this lobed tip, is a patch of white and a cluster of clubbed pseudo-stamens; these pseudo-stamens are hair-like in appearance and yellow to orange. Elsewhere, the lip is pink to rosy pink like the sepals and remaining petals. The lip is also hinged at its base. Flowers bloom from April to July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Leaf Type:
    Leaf Shape:
    Leaf Margin:
    Hairs Present:
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    A single 4 1/2 inch long, 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch wide ascending leaf occurs near the base of the central stem. The leaf tapers gradually into a narrow base enclosed by a sheath, while its tip is narrowly acute and hull-shaped. The upper surface of the leaf is often slightly concave. Both the upper and lower leaf surfaces are yellowish green to medium green and glabrous. Leaf venation is parallel. Below the well-developed leaf, there are 1-2 rudimentary leaves that are sheath-like and inconspicuous.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Stem Form:
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The central stem is green, glabrous, and terete.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Predatory Insects