Yesterday my husband came in and said, "get your camera." There are some interesting ice formations in the dirt out in the yard. I got my camera. They are interesting -- but I did not get a good shot of them.
It had been a while since I was out in the yard without Sadie and with the camera. So I went into the woods. At the base of a few trees I saw an interesting green leaf poking through the layer of dead, brown leaves. At first I was very excited thinking I had found a Lady Slipper growing wild. But then I realized it was not that plant -- but it is an orchid.
Last night I got on the internet checking the Georgia Native Plant website and consulting my Audubon Southeastern Field Guide. My assessment was that I had found a patch (or three) of Cranefly Orchids. This morning I emailed a photographer friend who knows a lot about woodland plants. She confirmed my find.
The Cranefly Orchid grows a single leaf in September. The leaf is dark green on top and purple underneath. The leaf remains until spring and then it disappears. In late July or August the plant sends up a stalk for the blooms. There are no leaves present when the plant blooms. The photo above shows a dried stalk with seed pods. I found this in the middle of a bunch of leaves. Obviously it was from last summer's blooms.