Pogonia ophioglossoides, Rose Pogonia Orchid, is a native herbaceous perennial plant that grows in wet areas (OBL). It blooms in June, July. This orchid has a wide distribution according to the USDA website. However, it is threatened and endangered in 7 of these states but not NJ.
This beautiful pink flower is about 1-2 inches. It has 3 sepals and 3 petals. The orchid structure naming is shown in the first photo of this section. The lower petal is highly specialized and is the lip or labellum. It is the landing pad for the insects. The reproductive structures of the flower are fused and called a column. The lip of the rose pagonia is ornate - pink striped, fringed and with fleshy yellow and white hairs (beard). The last photo shows the leaf like bract at the base of the ovary at the back of the flower.
Leaves and plant
The rose pogonia plant with the flower is about 1 to 2 feet tall. It consists of a long stem with a single leathery leaf about halfway up and typically a single flower on top with its bract. The second photo shows close ups of two leaves. The third photo shows the emerging flower stalk.
In the first photo the sepals and petal have fallen off and the ovary will develop into a fruit. The second photo shows the swollen seed capsule which contain thousands of seeds.
We were so thrilled to see so many rose pogonias. Even though they may not be officially threatened or endangered in NJ, they are extremely uncommon. So, if you come across them, please don't pick them or disturb their habitat.
All photos by H & M Ling, around 6/22/2015, Pinebarrens, NJ
Additional information / references:
The USDA website shows its distribution in the US :