Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Login
User Name
Password   


Registration is FREE. Click to become a member of OrchidBoard community
(You're NOT logged in)

menu menu

Sponsor
Donate Now
and become
Forum Supporter.

Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Many perks!
<...more...>


Sponsor
 

Google


Fauna Top Sites
LOG IN/REGISTER TO CLOSE THIS ADVERTISEMENT
  #1  
Old 10-18-2023, 01:27 AM
neophyte neophyte is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Feb 2016
Zone: 9b
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 801
Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Default Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!

I had the most amazing thing happen to me over the weekend... it's a bit of a long story but please bear with me!

Now that it's mid-October, there are very few native orchids still visible in Massachusetts, but one of the few species left is a leafless parasitic species called the autumn coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza). The species is usually always seen in fruit, as its flowers usually self-fertilize before they even open (and often, they never open at all—this phenomenon is termed cleistogamy).

The other day, I saw a record online for a related species, Corallorhiza maculata, in eastern Massachusetts, which was very interesting, as usually Corallorhiza does not occur this far east in the state. When I looked through the pictures, though, the cleistogamous flowers and greenish seed pods seemed to indicate that it was C. odontorhiza, which is much rarer in the state. I thought, great, I'll go check it out! Well, I did, and it turned out to be C. odontorhiza; pretty interesting but I thought that was the end of the story.

Apparently not! The original observer of this population who made the online record reached out to me, and it turns out that he was working with a Harvard professor who studies Thoreau—the 19th century Transcendentalist author I studied in American Literature! The professor has been going through Thoreau's old journals (besides being an author, Thoreau was quite the naturalist) and using the old place names and vague geologic features (think "south of __ swamp on an east-facing slope") to pinpoint exact modern locations for Thoreau's entries.

It turns out that Thoreau visited this (probably) same population in August of 1857 and mistook the plants for fruiting C. maculata. I'm so astonished that this group working on Thoreau managed to track down the population over 160 years later—it is really short of a miracle, considering these plants lack leaves and are 4-12 inches in height with flowers only a few millimeters across—from just a few feet away, they could just be a few dead twigs sticking out of the ground.

It's also a bit funny to think that more than a century later, I managed to bump into this story by accident and correct Thoreau himself! I'm trying to see if I can reach the professor now or at least a conservation botanist who can think of how to proceed.

Anyways, that's it for the rambling, and I don't want to sound corny, but this is almost like my personal connection to Thoreau now, and I'm just thrilled to have happened across this botany and history crossover! Just the fact that I might have maybe walked through the same woods that Thoreau once did and pondered over the same miniscule little orchids... I'm so amazed.

And some pictures:



They're pretty Halloween-appropriate—spooky little leafless parasites rising out of the ground, hardly noticeable until you're practically kneeling on the ground.

TL;DR: saw some native orchids that Thoreau himself may have once seen 160+ years ago!
Reply With Quote
Post Thanks / Like - 5 Likes
  #2  
Old 10-18-2023, 08:59 AM
Louis_W's Avatar
Louis_W Louis_W is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Albuquerque New Mexico
Posts: 849
Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Default

What a great story! Are they also trying to track down other landmarks in the journal? How odd to be a naturalist doing legwork for philosiphers! Were you using I naturalist? I love digging in to that app!

Also interesting to hear about because here in New Mexico Corallorhiza maculata is one of our common wild species. C. strata also!

Last edited by Louis_W; 10-18-2023 at 09:01 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-18-2023, 11:23 AM
Roberta's Avatar
Roberta Roberta is offline
Super Moderator
 

Join Date: Jun 2008
Zone: 10a
Location: Coastal southern California, USA
Posts: 13,096
Thoreau x Orchids Crossover! Female
Default

What a wonderful story! I think you'll have a "field day" next spring! And best wishes for you at MIT.
__________________
Orchids teach patience!

Roberta's Orchids (Visit my back yard)

See what orchid species are blooming in Southern California(New page for MAY 2024)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-18-2023, 01:38 PM
DirtyCoconuts's Avatar
DirtyCoconuts DirtyCoconuts is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Sep 2019
Zone: 10b
Location: South Florida, East Coast
Posts: 5,838
Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Default

amazing!! i dont know which is more exciting, a really cool botanical sighting or a really cool literary/life crossover....take both!!!

so cool
__________________
All the ways I grow are dictated by the choices I have made and the environment in which I live. Please listen and act accordingly
--------------------------------------------------------------
Rooted in South Florida....

Zone 10b, Baby! Hot and wet

#MoreFlowers Insta
#MoreFlowers Flickr
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-19-2023, 12:27 AM
My Green Pets's Avatar
My Green Pets My Green Pets is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Colorado
Age: 43
Posts: 2,557
Default

It's a goosebumpy story for sure, thank you for sharing it. You must've been thrilled when the pieces started coming together.
I love how since plants exist in a different temporal space than we do, they can meet different humans who are generations apart.
__________________
William Green | mygreenpets.org
Reply With Quote
Post Thanks / Like - 1 Likes
Likes DirtyCoconuts liked this post
  #6  
Old 10-19-2023, 10:37 AM
Leafmite's Avatar
Leafmite Leafmite is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Sep 2010
Zone: 5b
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,869
Thoreau x Orchids Crossover!
Default

How wonderful!
__________________
I decorate in green!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
ground, orchids, professor, species, thoreau


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Photos of Outstanding Orchids on Trees - Reddit epiphyte78 Outdoor Gardening 7 10-16-2013 06:37 PM
Orchids Growing Out of Control!!! PhalinVA Beginner Discussion 16 04-26-2013 11:32 AM
What is this on my new shoot?? Helen Cattleya Alliance 19 09-20-2012 06:35 PM
shore orchid festival -- july 23, 24 & 25 -- @ silva orchids -- neptune, nj mindbum Orchid Show Announcements 4 07-31-2010 12:57 PM
A Practical 150 gal Orchidarium-eBay cheap brsword Growing Under Lights 5 02-19-2010 06:39 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:15 PM.

© 2007 OrchidBoard.com
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.37 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2024 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2024 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Clubs vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.