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Orchidaceae / Orchid Family Perennial rhizomatous green herb with small white or creamy light yellow, orange speckled flowers. Shoots are about 2-3 dm tall, caulix present at the base of the stem. The leaves (multiple) are alternately cauline, arising from a virgate stem. The leaves mature from lowest to highest. The plant’s flowers are florescence is a terminally bracted racame, yielding around 5 flowers per shoot.
Surfaces are glabrous, with parallel venation. Leaves are sessile, with a sheathing base. Generally, leaves have oval shape, margins entire, Acute apices. sepals are bilobed while the dorsal sepal is simple, curling in with the two regular petals over the column and two stamens and the style. The lip is trilobed, the two smaller lateral lobes each lobed bilobed as well. The creamy yellow spur protrudes from beneath the lip, storing nectar as an added attraction for insects, the pollinators.
Flowers are zygomorphic, made up of a perianth including a calyx of three creamy yellowish sepals, and a corolla of two petals and a pink speckled lip petal. The two lateral Reproductive Structures: Two stamen with anthers protruding from the column are fused by the filaments to the pistil within the column.
The Spackled Bog Orchid is the most scarce of all the orchids of the Habenaria genus due to its scarce habitat, short flowering season, cumbersome reproduction process single, inferior ovary beneath the perianth. The ovary is 1-loculed with multiple ovules. The ovary matures into a dry capsule of seeds. for which it relies upon for seed germination and shoot growth. With the decline of bogs and marshy areas, where this fungus grows, due industrial development and climate change caused by anthropogenic impacts, the Speckled Bog Orchid’s population numbers have undergone an exponential decrease. Because of its high sensitivity to changes in butterfly populations and habitat loss, scientists use this orchid species as an indicator of ecosystem health.
Canada has classified this orchid species endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). It is important to preserve the Speckled Bog Orchid’s habitat. If the plant is cited, agriculture and development must not go underway at the same location.
Only one insect species, the meadowlark butterfly, are successful at pollination these flowers. As butterfly populations decline, so too does the speckled bog lily, which only grows in association with one fungus species.
To include this species of orchid in the Habenaria genus, a modification must be made to allow for speckled labium. The lip’s speckles, along with its unique lobe shape are the major differentiating characteristics between the Habenaria masculosus and other species in the habenaria genus like the Habenaria dilatate.
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