All material © the Ottawa Orchid Society



Home.Meetings.Shows.Orchid Info.Society Info.Photos.Contact.

Many cities have orchid societies that have wonderful websites showing glorious photos of members’ plants - virtually all of which are tropical hybrids. It is often much more difficult to find information on wild orchids from the societies’ neighbourhood. Members of the Ottawa Orchid Society agreed that we should develop a web page devoted to our local native orchids. In May 2011 Roy John put together an annotated list of species with input from Joyce Reddoch, Henry Steger and others, giving flowering dates and "locations." (Note - to protect the plants, sensitive information on the specific localities has been omitted).

Forty-three species of orchids are known to be native to the Ottawa area. Some of these are very familiar, such as the Showy Ladies Slipper that grows in large numbers at Purdon Fen, but others are much less well known. Some species are very small and inconspicuous and are easily overlooked, while others are quite uncommon and only occur in one or two specific locations. Please click here for the complete listing, which includes images of almost every local species in its natural habitat as well as brief information on habitat, flowering period and abundance. The images are presented as “thumbnails” - please click on any of the images to see a larger version. Abundances are derived from “The orchids in the Ottawa District” (see below) and are based on a study area of 50 km radius centred on the peace tower of the parliament buildings in Ottawa. List updated January 2014 to include Great Plains Ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes magnicamporum), recently discovered near Almonte.

We are also looking for additional photos of these native orchids. If you have photos which you feel are as good as (or perhaps better than!) the images in the list, please consider submitting them to the Society for possible inclusion in this page. Of course we reserve the right to to decide which photos to include, and to edit photos as appropriate. PLEASE NOTE: unless otherwise stated, all photos must be taken in Eastern Ontario or Western Quebec.

More information on the orchids in the Ottawa/Outaouais area can be found in the 1997 monograph “The Orchids in the Ottawa District: Floristics, Phytogeography, Population Studies and Historical Review” by Joyce M. Reddoch and Allan H. Reddoch. It was published in The Canadian Field-Naturalist, Volume 111, Number 1.

Hard copies are available from The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club ( and online in the Biodiversity Heritage Library website ( ).