Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchid

Posted by Kirk
While training a volunteer in on plant survey techniques in the prairie at Lowry Nature Center, natural resources staff found a rare orchid. I headed out to look myself and was able to snap this photo.

This is the lily-leaved Twayblade orchid. I was trying to find more info on it online but was initially stumped as I only knew the common name "Twayblade orchid". There are quite a number of plants that go by the name Twayblade orchid and most of them are in the genus Neottia. I searched around the read up on the genus but nothing seemed to match what you see in the photo.

It turns out this is what is commonly called the Lily-leaved Twayblade and it is in a completely different genus. The scientific name of this orchid is Liparis liliifolia. Note that "lilifolia" literally means "lily-leaved." I prefer this common name over some others for that reason. It is less confusing. That's the problem with common makes though, they hold no sway and you can make up your own if you really want to. Some other common names of this plant are Brown Widelip Orchid, Large Twayblade, Purple Twayblade, and Mauve Sleekwort. How's that for confusing? Want to make it more confusing? The reason I had trouble finding the exact species is that the Neottia genus are in deed the "twayblades" while the Liparis genus comprise the "false twayblades".

Okay, so do we call this False Lily-leaved Twayblade? No, that would imply that there is a true Lily-leaved twayblade in the Neottia genus. How about Lily-leaved False Twayblade? That's probably better and more accurate but a mouth full. You can see why scientists and botanists simply stick to Liparis liliifolia.

This particular plant or patch of plants is particularly interesting when you consider this map from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This map shows which counties have recorded occurrences of Liparis liliifolia.


Liparis liliifolia has never been recorded in Carver County before making this discovery a county record.


amr said...

Follow bird nomenclature.
Lily-leaved False-twayblade

Jeffrey Willius said...

Wow, what a truly exotic find! I'd never have guessed that we even have orchids in MN -- unless lady slipper's considered an orchid.
Thanks for sharing this. Sure hope I come across one in the flesh some day.