Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Three Birds In The Garden
Every late summer, this tiny plant pops up somewhere in our garden and woods; it's Triphora trianthophora, the nodding pogonia, also called three birds, I assume because of the three little white flowers on each stalk. It is a miniscule, rather rare orchid, which receives much of its nourishment from soil fungi, so has only tiny leaves, smaller than the nail on my little finger. It is the epitome of a woodland ephemeral; it arises from the ground seemingly out of nowhere, seldom in the same spot year to year, and raises up, blooms, and begins to die back in a few days. You can see why it's called nodding pogonia. It is an oddity, for sure.