SITY: Weedy Orchid

A new plant sprouted in the yard this year, just within the confines of the landscaping border in front of the house, almost as if it wanted to be part of the “official” plantings. I kept an eye on the plant as it grew, eager to find out what it was. I noticed yesterday that it had started blooming.

View from Above
View from Below
Close-Up of the Flowers

This plant is helleborine, a wild orchid native to Europe. It was introduced to North America in the 1800s and has since spread across much of the continent. One interesting thing about helleborine is that its nectar is intoxicating to pollinating wasps. It is also remarkably resilient for an orchid. In fact, it is sometimes called the “weedy orchid,” because it can grow in a wide variety of conditions and is aggressive enough to be invasive in some places. That makes sense–any plant that randomly shows up here is likely to be a weed. Like most aggressive plants, it can be difficult to get rid of, and we are advised to remove it immediately if we don’t want more of it. I’m inclined to leave the plant where it is for now, if only for the sake of getting the local wasps drunk. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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