Hexalectris grandiflora and other orchids

2007 July 8
by David J. Ringer

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — Earlier this week, Fjord and I joined Brian at Cedar Ridge Preserve to look for orchids.

Until last year, Hexalectris grandiflora was known only from a few locations in Mexico and far western Texas. But then one turned up here. Nobody knows for sure how or when or why, or how long it was here before it was discovered. These flowers aren’t only rare — they’re also very beautiful. That’s a great combination, as far as I’m concerned.

Hexalectris orchids are myco-heterotrophic, which means that they depend on fungi in the ground to provide them with nourishment. They do not have any obvious leaves or chlorophyll. This species is Hexalectris spicata var. arizonica, and its flowers barely even open at all.

This little jewel is Hexalectris warnockii, Brian’s favorite. I think I’m inclined to agree, even though it’s not as large and showy as the grandiflora. The delicately ruffled lip and rich colors are truly spectacular.

The fourth species of the day was Hexalectris nitida, whose charm is subtle but real nonetheless.

Orchids aren’t the only thing found in abundance right now. A very, very wet June resulted in a bumper crop of mushrooms and fungi of every description.


Here’s another look at the grandiflora. Researchers are busy recording the locations of the orchids found in Cedar Ridge. They’ve found more than two hundred so far — but this is the only grandiflora. There are more pictures of orchids and fungi in the gallery. Enjoy!

Related posts:

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  2. Myrmecochory
  3. Cloudbursts
  4. Immigrants come in yellow, blue, and pink
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