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Triphora trianthophora (Three-birds Orchid) | by jimf_29605
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Triphora trianthophora (Three-birds Orchid)

After receiving temperature data from the local weather station in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, I determined that there would be a wave of blooms on the rare Three-birds Orchid.

 

This particular species has a strange way of blooming: 48 hours after a consecutive two-day drop of the morning low temperatures, a massive bloom will occur, and every plant in the population (in the same region, in fact) will bloom at the same time. There may be as many as three such waves of flowering, each separated by as much as a week to ten days, until the conditions are just right for another bloom.

 

The flowers last only a single day, and to make it even more interesting, the flowers stay open only for about six hours. Since it is a two-hour drive over winding mountain roads for me to get to this locaton, you can see why I must make sure that this day is a bloom day...

 

There were hundreds of plants -- so many that I was afraid of stepping on some of them. They showed themselves as singles, pairs, and groups of as many as fifteen plants, scattered all through the woods.

 

This was a very good orchid day...

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Taken on July 29, 2011