In many states it is declining quickly, and now I can see why: this particular hillside is rapidly being overtaken by garlic mustard, whose antifungal properties spell doom for the ground-dwelling fungus that nourishes our native orchids. We spoke with the landowner about the joys of orchid conservation and the need for keeping garlic mustard and other invasive species at bay, and will hope they will do the management essential for the orchid's survival.
The gentleman said there used to be a large colony on his property years ago, but it had disappeared. This is the first one he has seen in many years, probably due to the abundant rains this spring? The floral associates were Virginia creeper, bedstraw, poison ivy (always!), black and white snakeroots, carrion vine, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild grape, clearweed, sweet cicely, and balsam ragwort. It seemed very happy nestled in its bed of white pine needles. The tree diversity was very high there; the woods seemed not to have been logged, in recent memory, anyway. There were white pine, shagbark hickory, American elm, hackberry and black cherry nearby.