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CALOPOGON pallidus

Image of Calopogon pallidus

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON pallidus

Plant Common Name

Grasspink, Pale Grasspink

General Description

Blooming in spring or summer, depending on geography, pale grasspink is late-flowering compared to most other grasspinks. Its widely spaced, pale pink to white flowers are produced on a larger spike than most other grasspinks. This orchid is native to the southeastern coastal plain, from North Carolina to Louisiana, where it thrives in moist, acid soils. Like other grasspinks, it grows from an elongated corm (bulb-like root).

The slender, grass-like leaves of this orchid are parallel-veined and bright medium green. From spring to summer, each plant produces a tall, upright stem with three to twenty blossoms. Flower color ranges from white or light pink to very pale magenta. Each flower displays five petals which surround 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 to dot 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 to the ground by autumn.

Easily grown from seed, pale grasspink prospers in organic-rich, acid soil found in moist pine forests and coastal plains. This orchid needs full to partial sun and tends to bloom after natural wildfires. Plant it in a naturalistic wildflower meadow or bog garden. Healthy plants will naturalize in the landscape. When not in flower, this orchid looks like a grass and simply melts into the landscape.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-26" / 15.2cm - 66.0cm

  • Width

    2"-8" / 5.1cm - 20.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, South-Central 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

    White, Pink, Light Pink, Magenta

  • 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

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes