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CALOPOGON oklahomensis

Image of Calopogon oklahomensis

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON oklahomensis

Plant Common Name

Grasspink, Oklahoma Grasspink

General Description

The Oklahoma grasspink bears stalks of lightly scented rose-pink blossoms from spring to midsummer, depending on geography. This herbaceous perennial wildflower is a true prairie forb that grows from an elongated corm (bulb-like root). In the wild it can be found growing in pine savannas, acid sandy to loamy prairies, open oak forests and bog edges. Very similar in physical characteristics to the bearded grasspink (Calopogon barbatus), which is usually non-fragrant, the Oklahoma grasspink hails from numerous isolated habitats in the south-central United States with one adjunct population existing in Wisconsin.

The slender, grass-like leaves of this orchid are parallel-veined and bright medium green. Each plant produces a tall, upright stem with two to seven blossoms that almost open simultaneously. The flowering season is earlier in warmer climates, but as late as midsummer where winters are longer and colder. The variable magenta-pink to white 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 resembles a mass of pollen. Once a pollinating bee lands on the blossom's lip petal, the upper bearded petal folds back and dots pollen onto the back of the insect. When the bee visits the next flower, its backside wipes pollen onto its floral tube. Seed capsules follow and release seeds by autumn.

Easily grown from seed, Oklahoma grasspink prospers in moist, non-alkaline soil that contains organic matter, though it will tolerate periods of drought. It needs full to partial sun for best growth and flowering. Plant it in a naturalistic moist wildflower meadow, sunny woodland glade or bog garden. Healthy plants will naturalize. When not in flower, this orchid looks just like a grass.

Oklahoma grasspink is rare or extinct in many areas where it once thrived.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5"-14" / 12.7cm - 35.6cm

  • Width

    2"-6" / 5.1cm - 15.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    North-Central United States, South-Central United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • 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

    Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes