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CALOPOGON tuberosus

Image of Calopogon tuberosus

Greg Allikas

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON tuberosus

Plant Common Name

Grasspink, Tuberous Grasspink

General Description

A dainty, diminutive orchid, the grasspink is an overlooked wildflower until it blooms in spring when it produces a show of fragrant pink blossoms. Native to North America, from Manitoba to Newfoundland and south to Texas and Florida, it grows from an elongated corm (bulb-like root) in open, often piney bogs. Those found in the warmer climes grow taller and produce larger flowers and the naturally occurring variety, simpsonii, grows in the seasonally wet alkaline soils of Cuba, the Bahamas and South Florida.

The slender, grass-like leaves of this orchid are gently pleated and bright green. From spring to late summer (depending on geography), each plant produces one tall, leafless stalk that stretches upward to display a cluster of flower buds that open in succession from the bottom to top. The pale to rosy 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. 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, grasspink prospers in acid soil rich in organic matter and requires full to partial sun. 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

    11 - 2

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2"-24" / 5.1cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    4"-16" / 10.2cm - 40.6cm

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Canada, Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    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

    Bog Garden, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes