Arethusa bulbosa (Dragon's Mouth)
|Also known as:||Swamp Pink|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; coniferous swamps, peat bogs, fens, sedge meadows|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||3 to 14 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single pale to hot pink irregular flower atop slender stem. Three solid colored, narrow elliptical sepals, up to ¼ inch wide and 1 to 1¾ inch long, are splayed erect over the flower; two petals similar to the sepals form a hood over the showy lower lip. The lower lip is first ascending then fully curved out and down revealing wrinkled edges and purple speckling with fleshy white to yellow bristles.
Leaves and stem:
Flower stem with several tight narrow sheaths and an upper sheath-like leaf that extends after flowering to a narrow grass-like blade to 7 inches long.
Fruit is an erect capsule, ¾ to 1¼ inches long.
Another prized but rarely observed native orchid, extensive populations yet exist on the pattened peatland complexes of northern Minnesota. Its habitat is difficult to approach and generally uninteresting to the average sightseer, i.e. typically wet and buggy.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken on the patterned peatlands off Hwy 72 north of Upper Red Lake in Beltrami County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?