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Tipularia discolor

crippled cranefly orchid add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Bulbs, Ground Orchids

Light Requirements: shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, rich, loam, sand

Height: 1'-2'

Bloom Time: June, July, August

Bloom Color: purple, green, bronze

Leaf Color: green, purple, multi-color

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: fall interest, ornamental foliage, rare, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Tipularia discolor (crippled cranefly)
  • Tipularia discolor (crippled cranefly)
  • Tipularia discolor (crippled cranefly)
  • Tipularia discolor (crippled cranefly)
  • Tipularia discolor (crippled cranefly)

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Description

Tipularia discolor

Also known as:

crippled cranefly orchid

,

cranefly orchid

Scientific Synonyms:

Tipularia unifolia

Description

Tipularia discolor is a very unusual plant, even among terrestrial 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 entire underside of the leaf is purplish to crimson red. 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.

Cultivation

Crippled cranefly grows in moist, deciduous woodlands rich with decaying organic matter. It is best planted with an exposure that will receive ample light during the winter months. 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

Propagation

Propagate by seed sowed in a humusy medium, rich with decayed wood matter. Can be propagated by separating the corms from mature specimens.

Additional Notes

Tipularia discolor has a fairly large native range, but is very rare within it. This one of several endangered terrestrial orchids, and it should NOT be collected from the wild.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
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

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Orchidales
Family Orchidaceae Orchid family
Genus Tipularia tipularia
Species Tipularia discolor crippled cranefly orchid