No more snakes – now we have monkeys!

The Monkey Face orchid is native to Peru – not Georgia!

What!?! That can’t be real! But it is! In scientific circles, it is an orchid with the name Dracula simia – the Monkey Face Orchid. Yes, in the state of Georgia, we have a very rare orchid also called the Monkey Face but I will require you to have a touch of imagination to actually see a Squirrel Monkey, or perhaps the face of a Mountain Gorilla. Ready?

See the Monkey Face? It’s OK, as I don’t see it either.

Not only do you not see the monkey face, you will probably never see this orchid either as only about 100 are left in Georgia and their whereabouts are a state secret as for some strange reason, people like to pick them and removing blossoms removes seed capability. Despite the lack of monkey eyebrows and such, the White Fringeless Orchid (Platanthera integrilabia) is actually very pretty. White fringeless orchid grows in wet, boggy areas at the heads of streams and on sloping areas kept moist by groundwater seeping to the surface. It is often associated with Sphagnum in partially, but not fully, shaded areas. Other plants commonly found with it include: cowbane (Oxypolis rigidior), grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia asarifolia), primrose-leaf stemless white violet (Viola primulifolia) and other orchids, particularly green wood orchid (Platanthera clavellata) and yellowfringed orchid (Platanthera ciliaris). Since we will not find our Monkeyface, let’s look at some species that grow next to P. integrilabia.

Cowbane is very poisonous as its name suggests. The blossom does not depict a cow face.
Grass-of-Parnassus is a fascinating wildflower and worthy of its own article. (in the near future!)
Wet, boggy areas are home to the Primrose-leafed Violet.
The Club Spur Orchid is similar to Monkeyface. The spur is short and thick resembling a club handle.
The Yellow fringed Orchid is a find in itself. Note the fringes as our subject is fringeless.
These White Fringeless Orchids or Monkey Flower actually do resemble a monkey as the long spur is a tail, the hood is a head, and the labellum could be a set of front legs. Where are the back legs? These are from Lookout Mountain in Chattooga County.

I hope that in your summer wildflower journeys you encounter the White Fringeless Orchid, and if you do, keep it a secret as the rest of us will want to go see this rare beauty. I am intrigued by the yellow-orange orchid above and need to do some research. Isn’t it pretty?

1 thought on “No more snakes – now we have monkeys!

  1. Monkeys are so much more fun

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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