This magnificent, bright yellow-orange orchid blooms in July and August in our area. It can be found in open woods, in either dry or wet places, although most of the photos below were taken in boggy places.
As you can see, these exotic flowers are borne in a dense cluster at the top of a stalk that can reach up to 2 feet in height. Each individual flower is about a half-inch wide and 1.5 inches long. Despite the common name, they appear more orange than yellow.
There are two notable features of this orchid: the lower lip petal is elegantly adorned with shaggy, long fringes, and a very long spur protrudes from the back of the flower. See the photos below for a closer view.
The leaves of the yellow fringed orchid are alternate, lanceolate, and entire, growing up to four inches in length. The plants do not bloom every year, so there are times when only the leaves are present. Enjoy it when you see it in bloom–the flowers provide an explosion of bright color at a time when other forest flowers have already gone to seed.
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I found a patch of these in the Southern part of Highland County last summer – up to that point, no one had reported finding them in the county. There are plenty of places further South, in Bath County, VA. It was quite a thrill to find them, they are quite striking.