Monday, July 19, 2010

Yadon's piperia ~ 07/19/10 ~ Huckleberry Hill

This is a federally endangered species. We visited Huckleberry Hill June 2, 2010 and the only evidence of this orchid at the time were numerous flags and signs. I don't know what the leaves look like, but I got down on my hands and knees and searched all around several flags for anything green. Really, the only things growing in this 30 yard stretch of path were rattlesnake grass (Briza maxima), an unidentified single-stem legume, bushes I believe are Eastwood's manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa), and Monterey pine (Pinus radiata). Thanks to Native Orchids flickr post of another Piperia, I suspected Yadon's might be blooming now and went on an orchid hunt instead of my usual early morning walk.

Bingo! It's not a very big plant, maybe 8-14" tall and would be very easy to overlook. My photos look nothing like a particular photo used on both Wikipedia and CalPhotos.

It was interesting to note that more than half the flags seemed to have blooming orchids nearby and a smaller number of blooms had no flag at all. I also found a couple orchids eaten down to the stems or pulled up from the roots.

I rarely go out looking for something this specific, but I'm glad I did. Vern Yadon (yes, the same for whom this orchid is named) states there are 14 orchid species, with 7 being Piperia, in Monterey County.

ps 08/26/11 - Ha! Looks like the picture used for both Wikipedia and CalPhotos was incorrectly identified. Phew! No wonder I was so confused when first looking at this orchid. I've already contacted the owner of the picture to see if he can get it placed properly online.

pss 12/30/13 - The California Department of Transportation has requested permission to use my first photo above on a vista viewpoint interpretive sign.  Cool!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I've actually never seen a wild orchid in the US! :(

Steve Willson said...

That's a neat little orchid. The year after blooming, some of my orchids don't produce more than a couple leaves and they're very hard to find.

Orchids and Nature said...

A very satisfying find of a lovely wild orchid. As you probably will have gathered I spend alot of my time searching out these beautiful flowers

John W. Wall said...

What's the difference between "rein orchid" and "rein orchis"? I noticed that a local Piperia species on Mt. Tam is listed as "rein orchis" and I'm pretty sure it's not a typo. BTW, the leaves on mine (two slim, basal, lanceolate leaves) were still present, but were dried up, dead. Maybe they gather just enough sunlight to send up the shoot.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We have a very similar species here, but as yet I haven't figured out with certainty which of the Piperia species it is. My best guess is Piperia unalascensis. I was watching three small plants near a fallen madrone on the property, but the deer ate them before they were in full bloom. I only have a couple of images of some flowers that weren't nibbled. The leaves though were what I first noticed in early spring. Two fairly broad, long strap-like leaves, that withered as the flowering stem was almost in bloom. Darn year if I see them, I'll fence them off!

Nature ID said...

Chris, if our other native CA orchids are as small as this one, it's no wonder you haven't seen them. I was lucky enough to see a wild pink lady's slipper in OH once.

Steve, from what I've read, that sounds about right with these orchids, too, in that they don't bloom every year.

David, I'm glad you stopped by again. The orchid expert on flickr that I reference above contacted me and we'll be going on an orchid hunt Sunday. Hopefully, I'll have several more orchids to add to my blog.

John, I think that is a typo -'s' and 'd' are close together on a keyboard.

Curbstone, if you're on flickr, I bet Native Orchids would be happy to ID yours.

Beau said...

Beautiful orchid- I've always been fascinated by them, especially those that bloom so rarely, and beyond 15 years or more.