She-who-must-be-obeyed and I had a short break in Jasper in May, and on one of our morning walks, we came across some Calypso orchids. These are small orchids with a circumpolar distribution. Each plant usually bears only a single bloom on a 10 to 15cm long stem that rises out of a single 3 to 5cm pleated basal leaf. The Calypso orchid grows from a single bulb-like corm that has a few slender roots that are dependent on mycorrhizal fungi. The bloom consists of a pouch-like and lobed labellum with five slender sepals and petals. The distribution is circumpolar.
There were a few single specimens sparsely distributed near the trailhead (I will keep the location secret because these orchids are very susceptible to disturbance and subject to harvesting for the international orchid collectors trade), and we were delighted to find them. I struggled to find a good specimen near the path that was not surrounded by grass or other distracting plants or twigs. I was looking for a nice uniform background and eventually managed to get a satisfactory shot of a bloom, despite the wayward breezes.
After that photo session, we moved on. Eventually, we reached a lake and began to explore the rocky shore. While I was taking some bug photos my wife moved on out of sight. Later, as I was trying some intimate landscape images, I heard her calling out to me. Not sure what to expect, I bounded across the rocks like a true hero, expecting to have to rescue a bull moose or grizzly bear from her disapproval. As I neared her she waved me over to a shrubby patch. I tiptoed over, camera at the ready. I cautiously peered into the thicket, and then reeled back in surprise. Rather than the skunk I was expecting, there, on the ground, was a huge …(wait for it) Continue reading