Three-birds orchid was thought to be extirpated in Connecticut, but it was recently rediscovered in the state -- by Connecticut Botanical Society member Eleanor Saulys. This plant is very difficult to find in bloom. Most flowers last only one day, and nearly all flowers in a given area will open on the same day. (Flowering seems to be triggered by a drop in nighttime temperatures.) Because flowers can be found on only a few days a year, those who seek three-birds orchid would do well to learn what it looks like out of bloom (see third photo below).
- Family: orchid (Orchidaceae)
- Habitat: rich, moist woods, often associated with rotting logs
- Height: 3-12 inches
- Flower size: 3/4 inch long
- Flower color: pale pink
- Flowering time: July to October
- Origin: native
These two photos, from a population in New Hampshire, were taken one day after the peak of bloom. At their peak, flowers are open further, revealing a white lip petal with three green stripes.
Three-birds orchid past bloom. At the upper left is a developing seed capsule.