Orchids of New York: Fairy Slippers and Dragon Mouths

By Matthew C. Pace

Mar 11 2020

Although most orchids are found in the tropical mountain systems of the world (e.g., the Andes, New Guinea), orchids occur in almost every habitat on Earth, from tropical rainforests to deserts, fire swept prairies, and arctic tundra. Within eastern North America, New York state is the most species-rich, with 61 species. One of these species, Spiranthes arcisepala, the Appalachian ladies’ tresses, was newly discovered and named by me in 2018. Although orchids are some of the most beautiful of New York state’s wildflowers, they are also some of its most endangered, with threats ranging from poaching and overgrazing by deer, to ecological succession and climate change. The next time you’re out on a hike, keep an eye out for Cypripedium (ladies’ slipper), Goodyera (rattlesnake plantain), and dragon’s mouth (Arethusa).

Digitization of NYBG Steere Herbarium orchid specimens made possible through a National Science Foundation digtiization grant (award #1802034).


Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: Digitizing "endless forms": Facilitating Research on Imperiled Plants with Extreme Morphologies

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