Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mystery Plant

Growing, unbidden, in my parents' yard (right by the doorstep, actually), is this plant:
It emerged in the spring and started to grow elliptical leaves with parallel veins that clasped the stem. At this point it is about 18 inches tall, though there is a second one that is about half the height. It was an interesting plant; we had no idea what it was and I don't remember seeing it before in their yard. It bloomed, going, in my opinion, from interesting to fascinating. Look at these flowers! Like little orchids, all in a row up the stem. (And yes, they are covered in cobwebs.)

10 points (redeemable for... nothing, really...) to anyone who can ID it! Answer to be revealed shortly if no one chimes in!


  1. If you are trying to shame me, you have succeeded! -- Mom

  2. I would bet my life on an orchid of some kind, but I don't know of any in Illinois which look similar....and since you mentioned it does look like an orchid, that can't be it...unless you're using some hardcore reverse psychology on your regular readers. Please divulge soon as the supense is killing me.

  3. Looks a bit like Lady's Tresses or Hooded Lady's Tresses, a spiranthes orchid that is common to streambanks and roadsides here in Vermont.

    A couple years back I rototilled some new land along a stream and last year there was an abundance of these orchids. I am far, far, far from being a botanist, and lacking a reference book right now, this is just a guess.

    George Africa
    The Vermont Gardener
    Vermotn Flower Farm

  4. it grows in some orchards in MI too. I thought it looked like an orchid.