2_milkcarton_resize

Lost Orchids of Maryland

Maryland is one of the original 13 colonies with a landscape that stretches across three main physiographic provinces. Barrier islands and cypress swamps on the Coastal Plain give way to the low rolling hills of the fertile Piedmont then rise up to the rugged mountains on the Appalachian Plateau with hemlock forests, mountain bogs, and narrow stream valleys surrounded by steep ridges. These diverse habitats contribute to Maryland’s impressive flora that includes over 50 orchid species with observations that go back to the 1600s.
This month photographer Gary Van Velsir reminds us of those orchids which now appear on the list of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants updated by the Maryland Natural Heritage Program. Many of these plants are in trouble, including nine orchids that seem to have completely disappeared. Considered extirpated (locally extinct), could these orchids just be lost, waiting to be found? Go to the Gallery