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Cranefly orchid

Making It Grow Radio Minute

Many beautiful native plants, may apples, dogtooth violet, trillium species, are called spring ephemerals as they send up leaves and produce flowers while the sun can reach the woodland forest floor before deciduous trees leaf out., The Cranefly orchid doesn’t fit in this group for several reasons. First, it sends up its one leaf in fall and it lasts through the winter. The leaf is usually green on top and always purple underneath, and no one seems to have an idea of why that is. From mid-summer to fall, the single flower stem emerges with somewhat wimpy, not showy blossoms scattered along that stalk. Perhaps the common name was chosen as it somewhat resembles an injured Cranefly. When mature, the seed pods release tiny seeds; they must associate with specific fungi to germinate.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.