Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

The Rosebud Orchid in my Backyard – WOW!

rosebud orchid in brasstown nc

This year I have made a conscious effort to try and be in the woods more. I wish that meant I had been on long hikes to the top of the mountain and beyond, but mostly what I’ve managed to do is take one of the trails that lead off behind the chicken coop and go a few hundred yards into the woods or up towards the ridge.

On one of my short trips I noticed a strange looking plant that I had never seen before. It was thin and tapered. I could tell it’s length was about to burst open with leaves and hopefully a bloom.

A few weeks later I suddenly remembered the plant and ran out to see if it had indeed opened up into a flower-it had!

The bloom was so pretty and I didn’t think I had ever seen one like it. I racked my brain thinking maybe it was something I had once planted in the yard that had somehow migrated to the woods, but decided I would certainly have remembered having a flower that pretty in my collection.

rosebud orchid in western nc cherokee county

I got Chatter to post a picture to a plant group that she’s a member of and someone quickly identified the plant as a Rosebud Orchid.

The book Native Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains has this to say about the flower:

“The smaller rosebud orchid blooms in early June in the southern part of the mountains but can be fresh in northern West Virginia as late as the first part of July. Restricted to the southeastern United States, smaller rosebud orchid is very sparse throughout the southern Appalachians. It occurs at a few sites in eastern Kentucky as well as some scattered locations on the Cumberland Plateau and in the eastern mountains of Tennessee. It is infrequent in the North Carolina and Virginia mountains. And there are only two recorded sites for smaller rosebud orchid in the area of West Virginia covered by this book, one in Barbour County and one dating from 1968 in McDowell County.”

After reading that I knew I had never seen the flower before. Have you?

Tipper

 

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Tom Deep
    July 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    No, thanks for sharing its beauty,

  • Reply
    Helen Gardner
    July 18, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    God decided you needed a special treat, a blessing so he gave you this beautiful little orchid. I’ve never seen one. Thank you for sharing

  • Reply
    RB
    June 22, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I haven’t seen it before that I can recall. It’s beautiful!!!
    Because it’s so rare, I wonder if it’s endangered and would be illegal to pick or transplant into one’s own yard. I know some orchids are so protected, it’s even illegal to say where one found it if one does run across one.
    Our youngest sister’s Mother-in-law once kept orchids when she lived in Florida. I guess you have to have exactly the right circumstances for them to flourish.
    How have you been doing there with all the rain? And now TS Cindy is headed this way.
    Praying for you should this storm head your way because Georgia has been experiencing tornadoes with it.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    June 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    That’s real pretty.
    I remember how thrilled I was the first time I came across some pink lady slippers.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I don’t recall ever seeing one in my ramblings, very pretty.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Tipper, I’ve been a fairly careful observer of flowers in the Smokies and have never seen one. Great find!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I used to see those in the wood when I was younger but never knew what they were. I’m not much of a flower child don’t you know. If I am remembering right the plant had a pod on it that looked sorta like it had already bloomed and gone to seed. That pod would bust open into that beautimus blossom.

  • Reply
    Marge Fraser
    June 21, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I read your blog every day, Tipper, and am delighted to see this magnificent rosebud orchid. You are blessed. ..and thank you for the pictures and post.

  • Reply
    Miracle WhiteHorse
    June 21, 2017 at 11:25 am

    What a lovely, delicate gift for God!

  • Reply
    quinn
    June 21, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Isn’t that a gem! I hope it does well in it’s special spot and maybe in years to come you’ll see more than one 🙂
    It’s been so rainy and buggy for weeks now that I haven’t been taking Piper out into the woods to walk by the pond – we’d both be soaked in two minutes and then likely get carried clean away by the deerflies. But that means we’ve sadly missed the trillium AND the ladyslippers this year, so I’m going to enjoy your glorious orchid extra-much!

  • Reply
    Patsy
    June 21, 2017 at 10:55 am

    How exciting…it is a beautiful surprise! My Aunt who lives in the Shenandoah Valley had a Giant Trillum pop up in her yard. She, like you, has no idea how it got there. Birds?

  • Reply
    Ken
    June 21, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Tipper,
    That’s a first for me too. It’s long, blade leaves kinda look like corn, but I’ve never seen this one before. Imagine, finding that orchid on your property. These mountains are full of mysteries. …Ken

  • Reply
    Tamela
    June 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Lovely! Hopefully it will multiply and provide you with many more sweet faces to enjoy!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 21, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Wanted to add…
    It is important if you are a wild flower enthusiast to walk near daily in the woods as early as late February to watch the change in the landscape..and document if you can what you have growing in your area. Lots of folks that study our flora depend on locals for information, names, common names, scarce plants, wet/dry and elevations where seen. Cell phones with good cameras is just wonderful for documenting sites.
    Just missing a few days and one could miss native wildflowers…one I have in mind is the Blood root it comes and goes so fast.
    After the bloom so many just look like ordinary green or yellowing stems in the woodland and by that time hungry critters may nibble on the fodder.
    Just sayin’
    Wish I could hike my woods again…along the wet weather spring and up the hill in the dryer woods. Different habitats for ferns, lichens, mosses, and wildflowers…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…you don’t have to tell where your Ginseng patch is if you don’t want too…but I would keep it a secret! Just kidding….I also planted Ginseng years ago as well as ramps years later…takes a while for them to show up….Mother Nature does a much better job of moving her plants around!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Tipper,
    First off write it down exactly where you saw it or mark the exact area with a rod/stick or something maybe small stones…time of bloom, color, how many, month etc.
    I did this for a while with the wildflowers in my woodland…after a while I eventually learned where they all were and got lazy and didn’t record them anymore.
    I have had seen many wild orchids thru the years…This little ‘Philly’ is sort of scarce unlike the Lady Slippers, fringed orchids, Showy Orchis, etc. Not many folks realize that there are native orchids in the US and especially in the Appalachians…I had Indian Moccasin flower growing here…(cheated bought at wild flower sale and planted in my wildflower garden) it is more abundant and the Yellow lady slipper…
    You are very blessed that something, bird or critter brought you a seed. It probably took a long time from seed to bloom.
    Lucky you,
    Thanks for this wonderful post today…great pictures too!
    PS…bet you Don our hiking bushwhacker commenter could name near all the wild orchids of Appalachia and seen them too. Where is that rascal anyway?

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    June 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Tipper,you have a treasure. I’ve taken lots of wild flowers pictures,but never seen this one.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    June 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Tipper,you have a treasure. I’ve taken lots of wild flowers pictures,but never seen this one.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    June 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Tipper,you have a treasure. I’ve taken lots of wild flowers pictures,but never seen this one.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    June 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Tipper,you have a treasure. I’ve taken lots of wild flowers pictures,but never seen this one.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    June 21, 2017 at 8:57 am

    What are the odds of the rare plant growing in your area, on your land and you finding it? Sounds like God knew where to place His beautiful creation. I wonder if you could transplant it to a more secure place closer to your house. My brother-in-law found a Lily growing out in my woods at a place I suspect a house used to be. I transplanted it at the back of my house several years ago. I can hardly wait for it to bloom in mid-summer. When I researched wild flowers native to the area I couldn’t find anything exactly like it. It is such a deep orange color, it is almost red. With black spots and streaks, it is a sight to see.

  • Reply
    Lorraine
    June 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    How lovely! What a beautiful gift from the Lord!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 21, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Orchids are beautiful and grow in the most amazing places

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 21, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Yes, I have seen it but rarely. It grows in dry woods, associated with such species as pines, scarlet oak and chestnut oak. The plant looks particularly lush and succulent compared to other herbaceous species on those dry sites. Your pictures are very good for identification.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Morris
    June 21, 2017 at 8:02 am

    It is lovely. You are so lucky to have this reare plant on your property!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 21, 2017 at 7:01 am

    That is a stunning flower, so tall, slim, and majestic. Chitter took me into the woods to see it a few days ago and I have to say I was struck speechless. I’ve never seen or heard of a rosebud orchid before.

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