May 27th - Photo Of The Week...
Taken on Tuesday afternoon, this week's photo features a Calypso Orchid growing along the North Saint Vrain Creek in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park
The Calypso Orchid (Calypso bulbosa) also known as the fairy slipper or Venus's slipper, is a small pink, purple, or red flowered perennial member of the orchid family (Orchidaceae), accented with white lower lip, darker purple
spottings, and yellow beard. Calypso Orchids are found in undisturbed northern montane forests.
Its range is circumpolar, and includes all the western states and most of the
northerly states of the United States. Furthermore Scandinavia (northern Sweden and Finland), northern part of European Russia and eastern Siberia and Canada. Two varieties are found in the USA,
var. americana and var. occidentalis, which are found respectively east and west of the Sierra Nevada ranges.
Although the calypso orchid's distribution is wide, it is very susceptible to disturbance, and is therefore classified as threatened or endangered in several states, and in Sweden and Finland as well. It is easily disturbed and does not transplant well, owing to its
dependence on specific soil fungi. The bulbs have been used as a food source by North American native peoples, though this is not recommended now because the sites for these plants are now rare and easily destroyed.
The Calypso Orchid relies on "pollination by deception", as it attracts insects which it does not nourish and which eventually begin to learn not to revisit it. Avoiding such recognition may account for some of the small variation in the flower's appearance.