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CALOPOGON

Image of Calopogon

Hans Stieglitz, Wikimedia Commons Contributor

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

CALOPOGON

Plant Common Name

Grasspink

Special Notice

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

General Description

When translated from Greek, the genus name Calopogon means "beautiful beard," alluding to the fuzy tuft on the upper petal (labellum) of its seven-part flowers. Comprising four species, all native to southeastern North America and the West Indies, this is a group of terrestrial (ground-growing) orchid wildflowers. Natural habitats include open soggy woodlands, wet prairies, and seepage slopes.

Members of the Calopogon are colloquially called grasspinks. They grow from underground, bulb-like corms that grow loosely in the soggy bog-soils, often rich in peat. Basal leaves resemble long, thin, ribbed grass blades and grow from the corm. They are easily overlooked when growing among other forbs and grasses.

The flowers contain three petals and three sepals and a large central column club. Unlike other members of the orchid family, the lip or labellum petal in Calopogon is on the top side of the flower face, not the bottom. This flower orientation is referred to as non-resipunate. Blossoms occur in spring and typically display white to pink or rosy-magenta pigmentation. Once an insect pollinator lands on the labellum tuft or beard, the flower folds to deposit pollen on the bug's back. As the hairy bee visits other flowers, the pollen is transferred across many plants.

Characteristics

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Native To

    North America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • 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

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes