November 21, 2020
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update! The following post was originally published on April 16, 2020.
When we think of orchids, we usually think of rare, ornate flowers growing from a tree in a misty swamp somewhere. In fact, there are a number of species of orchids you can find out in the woods right here in southwest Virginia! For the most part, the orchids you'll find locally aren't nearly as showy as the orchids you would buy from a nursery (with the exception of Cypripedium acaule, better known as the pink lady's slipper, which I am on a mission to find).
The pictured orchid is an excellent example of one of our more common, less showy orchids. This is Goodyera pubescens, commonly known as "rattlesnake plantain." The variegated leaves with their striking veins make rattlesnake plantain fairly easy to spot. This plant blooms between July and September, sending up a spike covered in a few dozen tiny white flowers.This orchid prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. While it's difficult to raise in your garden (and should never be taken out of the wild), it's pretty tolerant of cold weather and can be found as far north as Ontario.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends.
NEW: TRIVIA CHALLENGE
You've seen the posts. You've learned the facts. Now, it's time to prove you are a #BenInNature Mega Fan! The museum's education team has developed the #BenInNature Trivia Challenge to identify the most devoted fans out there! Everyone who successfully answers each trivia question correctly will be congratulated by having your own nature selfie posted to the museum's #BenInNature Mega Fan Photo Album on the official VMNH Facebook page! Learn more and download the trivia challenge today by visiting www.vmnh.net/research-collections/beninnature-trivia-challenge.
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!