Galearis spectabilis (L.) Raf.

showy orchid

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Showy orchid is found in rich, calcareous forests in all New England states, but is rare in several. This is a low-growing but spectacular orchid, with a pair of broadly ovate basal leaves and showy rose-purple petals.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Number of leaves on stem
absent
Form of lower petal
the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
Lower petal outline
the labellum is simple in form
Main color of lower petal
  • pink to red
  • white
Nectar spur
the flower has at least one nectar spur on it
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
Lower petal characteristics
  • the labellum has spurs on it
  • the labellum is simple in form
Lower petal length
10–18 mm
Sepal length
10–20 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Flower bract length
    15–80 mm
    Flower petal color
    • pink
    • white
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowering date
    • June
    • May
    Flowers per inflorescence
    2–15
    Form of lower petal
    the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
    Hairs on inflorescence axis
    the main stem of the inflorescence is hairless
    Inflorescence length
    50–100 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Labellum position
    the labellum is in the lower position on the flower
    Length of flower stalk
    0 mm
    Length of narrowed base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Length of peduncle
    100–200 mm
    Lobes at base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lower petal characteristics
    • the labellum has spurs on it
    • the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal length
    10–18 mm
    Lower petal outline
    the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal strongly red-veined
    no
    Main color of lower petal
    • pink to red
    • white
    Nectar spur
    the flower has at least one nectar spur on it
    Nectar spur length
    9–20 mm
    Number of stamens
    1
    Orientation of side petals
    the lateral petals are angled steeply upwards
    Sepal length
    10–20 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spots on lower petal
    no
    Spur opening membrane
    there is no membrane over the spur opening
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed capsule orientation
    the capsule points upwards or is angled outwards
  • Growth form
    Plant green or not
    the plant is chlorophyllous (it has green parts)
    Roots
    the rhizomes do not resemble coral
    Underground organs
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
    • this plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bract relative length
    • the bract is longer than the associated flower
    • the bract is shorter than the associated flower
    Features of leaves
    the leaf does not have any of the mentioned special features
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade edges
    the edges of the leaf blade have no teeth
    Leaf blade length
    90–200 mm
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    2–4.5
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    20–100 mm
    Leaves during flowering
    there are leaves on the plant when it is flowering
    Number of bracts on stem
    0
    Number of leaves on stem
    absent
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
uncommon (S-rank: S3)
Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
New Hampshire
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Rhode Island
historical (S-rank: SH), state historical (code: SH)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Orchis spectabilis L.

Family

Orchidaceae

Genus

Galearis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Galearis spectabilis (L.) Raf. N

showy orchid. Orchis spectabilis L. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Rich, usually deciduous, forests, often in areas influenced by high-pH bedrock or colluvial deposits.