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.