click on image for whole view
Phantom Orchid, Detail View
Cephalanthera austiniae--click on image for whole
Edition 200, 12 by 24 inches
by 7 inches, on watercolor paper with a deckled edge. Click for notecard image (different proportions)
This orchid, native to the United States and Canada, is a rare treat to find, but is becoming less common as old growth forests diminish in number and size. Phantom Orchid, named for its pure white stems, is completely without chlorophyll, and depends upon its association with fungal strands (mycorrhizae) in the soil, which deliver nutrients to the orchid. It is one of several non-green, "mycoheterotrophic" orchids (such as coralroot orchids) and Heath Family members (candystripe, pine drops, ghost pipe, etc.) which also grow in dark conifer forests.