One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

It’s our day off from the Blogging From A to Z Challenge, but things are still sprouting in the woods.

Mystery #148

Any idea what it is?

Give us your guess, and we’ll check in later with the answer.

~~~

Did you try to guess our mystery today?

Heh. It’s a difficult one. Spring blooming. The leaves only rise from the base and are single with the veins running the length of them. Does that help?

This type of leaf means the plant is a member of the Orchid family. Yes, we have wild orchids in Virginia!

In a few weeks, they will look like this:

Pink Lady's Slipper

Pink Lady’s Slipper, Cypridedium acaule, is a hard-found, native spring wildflower. But once you humans do find a plant, or more, it’s one you seem to keep track of and flock back to visit each May. Their favorite trees to grow under are pine, but also oak, sweetgum and Red Maple. In fact, Miz Flora has heard tell that the tree roots attract a fungus in the soil that is necessary for these local orchids to grow. You can’t just dig up an orchid and expect it to grow anywhere! So please don’t try.

Pink Lady's Slipper

We squirrels do admit the Pink Lady’s Slipper is a spectacular one, and has a great story! The odd-shaped slipper flower has a small entrance–at the top–which forces bees to touch the flower parts–and be coated with pollen! Of course, going to the next flower pollinates it and a seed will grow. Once the seed falls to the ground, it has no extra parts to supply energy to germinate. The fungus in the soil grows over the seed, cracks it open and in attaching to the seed, supplies the food for germination.

So here’s a plant that is up to two different kinds of tricks. You’d think it was related to squirrels!

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