Calypso Orchid (Calypso bulbosa)

Closeup of small, pointed purple, slipper-shaped flowers

Calypso Orchid (Calypso bulbosa)

The Calypso Orchid, also known as the Fairy Slipper, can be considered a rare orchid in certain states. In Grand Teton National Park (GRTE), this orchid can be found on the Blacktail Butte Trail as well as Grand View Point trail. Finding a patch of Calypso Orchids is uncommon; this orchid most often grows as a single, solitary flower – although, it is not impossible to see them in groups of twos or threes – found in bogs, forests, and swampy areas.

The foliage on the Calypso Orchid is a singular leaf with a crinkled texture that lays on the ground. The flower itself has eye-catching pinkish-purple petals, but it’s the orchid’s alluring scent that draws the attention of nearby pollinators. These flowers do not produce nectar. They use “pollination by deception” to cross-breed between other Calypso Orchids. In the spring, emerging queen bumblebees are drawn by their strong, attracting scent in search of a nectar reward.

Written by Anna Cressman
PC: YNP on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/SfG1Fi