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CALOPOGON barbatus

Image of Calopogon barbatus

Richard Porcher

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON barbatus

Plant Common Name

Bearded Grasspink, Grasspink

General Description

Bearded grasspink produces a loose cluster of white, pink or rosy-violet blossoms in late winter to spring. The orchid blooms lack fragrance but are delicate and beautiful. Native to wetlands and bogs across the American southeastern coastal plain, from eastern North Carolina to Louisiana and central Florida, this hardy terrestrial orchid grows from an elongated corm (bulb-like root).

The slender, grass-like leaves of bearded grasspink are bright medium green. Unlike other grasspinks, the leaves of this species continue to grow and elongate through summer and into autumn. From midwinter to late spring (depending on climate), each plant produces a tall, upright stem with one to 12 blossoms, most commonly five, which open almost simultaneously. The ivory to pale pink or rosy flowers have five petals which surround around a curved, anvil-headed floral tube. The upper petal sports a bright yellow tuft or "beard" of trichomes that resemble a mass of pollen. Once a pollinating bee lands on the blossom's lip petal, the upper bearded petal folds to dot pollen onto the back of the insect. When the bee visits the next flower, its backside wipes pollen onto the different flower's floral tube.Its seed capsules release seeds by autumn.

Easily grown from seed, bearded grasspink prospers in acid soil rich in organic matter. This terrestrial orchid needs full to partial sun. Plant it in a naturalistic moist wildflower meadow or bog garden. Happy plants will naturalize over time. Occasional meadow wildfires tend to increase the appearance of bearded grasspinks in the landscape. When not in flower, this orchid looks like nothing more than a clandestine grass.

The bearded grasspink shares its native distribution and is physically very similar to the Oklahoma grasspink (Calopogon oklahomensis). The latter's range is more extensive, however, reaching much farther north and west. In addition, the manyflower grasspink (Calopogon multiflorus) was once regarded as a variety of the bearded grasspink. Manyflower grasspink's corms are forked and its flowers are strongly fragrant and are held on purple stems.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5"-14" / 12.7cm - 35.6cm

  • Width

    1"-3" / 2.5cm - 7.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose, Ivory

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes