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CALOPOGON tuberosus var. simpsonii

Image of Calopogon tuberosus var. simpsonii

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON tuberosus var. simpsonii

Plant Common Name

Grasspink, Simpson'S Grasspink

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

It's not typical to find an orchid that prospers in swampy soils with high pH. Simpson's grasspink is one such plant. A ground-dwelling, grass-like orchid that's an overlooked wildflower until it blooms, Simpson's grasspink hails from the sunny alkaline swamps of the Everglades and in nearby Cuba and the Bahamas. It grows from an rounded, plump corm (bulb-like root).

The slender, grass-like leaves of this orchid are gently pleated and bright green and are strongly curved in cross-section. The flowering season is usually mid- to late spring, but may occur anytime from late fall to early summer. Each plant produces one tall, upright stem that displays one to a cluster of up to two dozen flower buds. They open in succession from the bottom to top. The violet-rose to light pink flowers have five petals which surround a curved, anvil-headed floral tube. The upper petal sports a showy yellow tuft of trichomes and pollen-carrying stamens, and a paler, almost white zone that helps distinguish it from the common tuberous grasspink of the American Southeast. Once a pollinating bee lands on the blossom, the upper petal folds to dot pollen onto the back of the insect as it drinks nectar from the lip petal (labellum). Seed capsules follow pollination.

Easily grown from seed, Simpson's grasspink prospers in neutral to alkaline soil containing some organic matter. It needs a long growing season with little to no frost in a full to partial sun location. Plant it in a naturalistic moist wildflower meadow or bog garden. Happy plants will naturalize over time. When not in flower, this orchid looks like nothing more than a sickly grass.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10"-40" / 25.4cm - 101.6cm

  • Width

    4"-16" / 10.2cm - 40.6cm

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    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

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Tropical, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes