Cranefly Orchid

Cranefly orchid flowers

Catherine Boston

The August edition of the self-guided plant walk series sponsored by the Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society should be ready to share starting Saturday, August 15-Friday, August 28.  We record the plant walk leader as they walk their route and share their knowledge about the blooming flowers along the way. Check out the ICF website starting Saturday for more information on how to take this guided walk.  One of the stars of any August plant walk in the woods is the Cranefly Orchid, Tipularia discolor.  These are found throughout the Natural Area although you may not notice them due to the delicate nature of the flowers.  But it is a shame to miss these beautiful members of the orchid family.  The leaf has a green/purple top with a purple underside but you won't see it now as it emerges in autumn.  It is visible through the winter until it wilts in the spring and is followed by the flower stalk in the summer. 

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