Species Spotlight – Galearis spectabilis (showy orchid)

Species Spotlight – Galearis spectabilis (showy orchid)

This is one gorgeous plant species.  Large thick glossy green leaves and amazing two-tone flowers that last for almost a month.  Easy to grow if given the correct soil conditions.

We only see this species growing in EcoRegion 064b, which is mostly diabase.  Grows in the bottom third of a diabase slope, where the soil is deep, black, and friable.  Most of our terrestrial orchids are growing in dry soils, and this one is no exception, but its typical site conditions seems to defy this.  However, in investigating the growing conditions thoroughly, one discovers that this orchid is really growing between cobbles and sometimes in roadside gravel, but with the woodland loan filling the gaps.  In our limited experience, this is the only condition in which we have observed healthy stands of this orchid.

ArcheWild - Galearis spectabilis - EcoRegion 064b
ArcheWild – Galearis spectabilis – EcoRegion 064b

We are trying to cultivate this orchid naturally, in beds, but the going is extremely slow.  We started with two plants about 5 years ago and divided them two years ago.  We are now up to eight plants in total, with about 4 of them blooming.  At this rate, if sustainable, it will take about 20 years to produce about 2000 plants.  I suppose it’s worth the wait.

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