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Puttyroot orchid seed capsules
Photo by Jim Jung. All rights reserved.

Orchids release their seeds

Our Orchids begin releasing their seeds with the first cold snaps of late fall, and continue throughout the winter.

Orchids are rather uncommon plants in our flora principally because the methods the orchid family evolved to cope with life in the tropics – and they're wildly successful there since one plant species in five is an orchid – don't work as well this far north of the equator. However many of the species that do occur here are far from rare and can usually be encountered on a winter walk.

Of course this time of year most of the orchids are mere remnants of their former selves – just a short dry stalk with brown, brittle seed capsules – so it requires sharp eyes to spot them against the carpet of brown leaves... but they're out there! So should you encounter any mark the location and schedule a repeat visit in May when you'll be rewarded with a view of the actual plant.

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The information on this page is tailored to Southern Illinois, Southwest Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Southeast Missouri

Copyright © 2005 Jim Jung