Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Bulbs, Ground Orchids
Light Requirements: shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist
Soil Description: acid, rich, sand
Bloom Time: June, July, August, September
Bloom Color: green, brown
Leaf Color: green, purple, multi-color
Hardiness Zone: 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: fall interest, ornamental foliage, rare, shade garden plant, woodland plant
Pricing & Availability
Tipularia discolorAlso known as:
Tipularia discolor is a very unusual plant, even among ground orchids. It grows from a series of connected corms, each one producing a single leaf in fall that will persist through winter, only to die back in summer before the flower spike emerges. The leaves are easily recognizable: they are oblong, coming to a fine point, deep-green and dotted with raised purple spots. The singular flower stem is erect and up to 2 feet tall. The flowers are produced over the entire length of the stem. They are small, greenish-brown, orchid-like with elongated rear facing spurs.
Crippled cranefly grows in moist, deciduous woods rich with decaying logs. Bloom time will vary according to geographic location. Counterintuitively, it blooms earlier in the north (as early as June), and later in the south (as late as September). Zones 6-8
Propagate by seed sowed in a humusy medium, rich with decayed wood matter. Can be propagated by separating the corms from mature specimens.
Tipularia discolor has a fairly large native range, but is very rare within it. The starchy corms are edible and have a potato-like taste. This one of several endangered terrestrial orchids, and it should NOT be collected from the wild.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
USDA Endangered Status:
- Endangered: MA, NY
- Rare: PA
- Threatened: FL, MI
|Species||Tipularia discolor||crippled cranefly|