Crane-fly Orchid

The Crane-fly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) is the only species of the genus Tipularia found in North America.  The plant is easy to identify in the field because of its distinctive leaves and which are  a dull to shiny green above (sometimes with raised purple spots) and purple below.  The leaf emerges in autumn (September and October), over-winters, and disappears in the late spring to early summer. There are no leaves at the time the orchid blooms.

The flowering stem is 15 to 20 inches tall.  Moths pollinate the plant.  One patch of them is along the roadside at the Guion Farm parking lot.

Catesby’s Trillium

Catesby’s Trillium (Trillium catesbaei) in common and is one of the last trilliums to bloom.  Flowers can usually be seen from late March through June.  The widely spaced leaves  are rolled inwardly along the length of the leaf.  This unusual leaf morphology allows the flowers to be more readily observed.  It likes drier habitats with acid soil and often within rhododendron or mountain laurel thickets.

Appalachian Cottontail Rabbit

The Appalachian cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus) is a rather rare species of cottontail rabbit that is found mostly in upland areas of mountainous regions of the Appalachians.  It is well adapted its habitat and has heightened senses of smell, hearing, and sight which allow it to notice predators and react quickly to threats.

Distinguishing it from the much more common Eastern cottontail is not easy in the field but the Appalachian cottontail often has a dark spot between the ears whereas the Eastern cottontail has white in that area.

Walk on the Wild Side is by Alan Cameron. Alan is a member of Friends of DuPont Forest and a 12 year volunteer with the Wildlife Resources Commission. He does 90%of his work in DuPont State Forest.