Interesting Plant Sightings

Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia var. lineata)


interesting-blooms-srl-orch-lineataOn July 2, 2011, members of RDRN and others, visited a site in Banff National Park to see the rare striped variety of Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia var.  lineata). This is only the third location known to RDRN in North America. The others being in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Alberta and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario. There may be other locations yet to be reported. Anyone knowing of another location is asked to contact RDRN. (We are hearing that there may be a location near Edmonton and one in Yukon. If anyone knows more about either of these, we would be happy to hear from you.)

For comparison: The common form is shown below.

Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia)

interesting-blooms-srl-orc-hnormalThe Small Round-leaf Orchis lives in wet forests where the soil is cold. Depending on location, it blooms from May to August.

It can grow up to 25 cm tall, but in Central Alberta is usually about 15 cm. It produces one, nearly round, basal leaf. The flowers are in a raceme, loose and showy. They are white with two broad purplish stripes, not spots, on the lip. (The spotted one is the common version of the plant.)

The flowers are small, about 12 – 15 mm long so it takes a bit of hunting to locate it. Once you find one, you will probably see that there are many more present.

Near Red Deer, the common form can be found at Butcher Creek Natural Area, Braithwaite Natural Area, and in boggy areas along the Red Deer River. Farther afield, there are reliable patches near Nordegg on Shunda Creek, at Fish Lake Campground (south end of the “A” loop), and at Dry Haven Creek and many other places.

Other variations: Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia)


These Small Round-leafed Orchids (Orchis rotundifolia) were found in the Butcher Creek Natural Area. 2012 is a good year for these blooms in the Natural Area – there are thousands of them.

On closer examination, several variations in the typical colour scheme were discovered. On this one, note the border on the lip of the petal.


This one shows some “splotchy” areas on the petals. These makings seemed to be random and scattered. Plants with the variations could have many marked petals, or only one. Plants in the same clusters may or may not show variations.

Sparrow’s egg Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium passerinum)

The double-flowered Sparrow’s egg Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium passerinum) and a second specimen were found on opposite sides of a small stream and separated by several 100 metres.

Calypso Orchid, Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa)

Calypso, interesting plant sightings  home programs

This is the normal form of the Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa). This is relatively common in west Central Alberta. Photo Copyright 2014 W. Heinsen.


This variety was found at Siffleur Falls in 2005. Copyright 2003 W. Heinsen.


This variety was found at Siffleur Falls in 2005. Copyright 2003 W. Heinsen.

Calypso 014

This  was also found at Siffleur Falls. Fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa). Copyright 2011 W. Heinsen.

Calypso 005

Location unknown. Fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa). Copyright 2011 W. Heinsen.