Southern Idaho’s Wild Orchid, Epipactis gigantea

Epipactis gigantea, photographed in August of ’06 just off the paved trail at Shoshone Falls, is one of several native orchids in Southern ID. This plant grows in wet areas in a variety of habitats, including riverbanks, hot springs, and meadows. If you look around the Shoshone Falls trail you will find quite a bit of it due to the water availability from the slopes. Unlike some of its relatives, this species is an autotroph (an organism that produces complex organic compounds from simple inorganic molecules using energy from light (by photosynthesis) or inorganic chemical reactions). This wildflower is native to western North America from western Canada to central Mexico and is one of the most abundant orchids of the Pacific coast of North America.

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