Tipularia discolor from Cecelia, South Carolina

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This plant is on my property in Greenville, SC near Paris Mtn State Park, in a small wooded area with mostly deciduous trees and a few evergreens such as pine and cedar. The leaves have a smooth feel to them, almost like a fine leather. I flipped a leaf over so you can see the purple back. The plants are within 4 or 5 feet of each other. I just found them so I have not observed them in other seasons yet to see if they have any type of flower. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Hi Cecelia,

you have a nice native orchid there called the Crane-fly orchid, Tipularia discolor.  The word ‘discolor’ means the leaves have different colors on top versus bottom. This is actually a rather common orchid in our area but the flowers are very small and delicate, and they appear after the leaves have died down in the summer, so one might not realize the flowers are from this same plant. You can find out much more about this plant here: http://goorchids.northamericanorchidcenter.org/species/tipularia/discolor/

Just for fun, the fern in your picture is Asplenium platyneuron, the ebony spleenwort.


Steven Hill, Ph.D., Botanist  SCNPS

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