Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
Volume 10 Issue 2   April 2008
ISSN 1499-5476

typical Amerorchis rotundifolia - photo by Lorne Heshka Native Orchid Conservation Inc
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 204-947-9707 or e-mail

Field-Trips 2008:  Dates and Locations

Plant of the Month:
Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia)


President's Report - by Doris Ames

Native Orchid Conservation Inc celebrated its tenth anniversary on April 15, 2008 and we have prepared this special edition of the Native Orchid News to celebrate our achievement. 

Our annual general meeting on February 15, 2008 was well attended and I think everyone enjoyed the special cake, our new EKO dvd and Nora Reid's excellent presentation entitled "Artistry in Nature".  After the election the board consists of:

Doris Ames President
John Neufeld Vice-president
Huguette Calvez Secretary
Iris Reimer Treasurer and Fieldtrip-coordinator
Richard Reeves Newsletter
Eugene Reimer Webmaster
Peggy BainardAcheson   Membership

More details about that evening can be found in Peggy's report elsewhere in this newsletter. 

We enjoyed attending the Manitoba Orchid Society's Orchid Show March 28-30 and I was especially pleased to see the beautiful yellow and showy lady's-slippers in bloom in time for the show.  Lorne Heshka did a marvellous job bringing these lab propagated native orchids into flower for the occasion.  I think they were as pretty as any that I have seen growing in the wild.  It is wonderful to know that many of our beautiful native orchids can be grown from seed and purchased from Canadian nurseries.  We can enjoy them in our gardens now without having to dig them up from the wild.  We met many friends, old and new, at the show and were very pleased to win first prize for our educational display, "Manitoba Orchids; Beauty in Diversity"

We have planned more fieldtrips for this summer with new destinations among them as well as a Wildflower Festival at Carrick and a Fall Flower Festival in Senkiw.  The list is here.  Hope to see you in the field! 

PS: Be sure to sign up now while there is still room as we do limit the number of people we take to some of these locations. 

Had Cake - Ate it Too!

by Peggy BainardAcheson

NOCI was pleased to celebrate the milestone of our tenth year in operation with the 53 members and guests who came out to share it with us on February 15, 2008 at our Annual General Meeting.  After the business meeting and elections, we very much enjoyed our featured speaker Nora Reid, who shared her thoughts about nature and artistry with us and brought so many wonderful examples of her paintings and sketchbooks.  We also celebrated with our usual raffles and silent auction, and our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who donated (list below).  Thanks to Adrian Ames for conducting the silent auction and raffle.  I think everyone had fun participating and winning such wonderful prizes. 

As the Nominations Chair, John Neufeld conducted the election.  The four board-member positions were filled by acclamation, and we are pleased to announce that Doris Ames, Huguette Calvez, Richard Reeves, and Eugene Reimer will continue to serve on the board. 

We also took time in our jam-packed program to show the exciting new video called EKO, about the Brokenhead Wetland.  We apologize for the poor sound quality.  Anyone interested in seeing the video can view it at, or alternatively you can buy it online at our website or contact Huguette Calvez.  The video features the wetland and its broader importance to the community. 

In honour of our anniversary we had a special treat this year - a beautiful cake adorned with a picture of Moccasin Flowers (courtesy Lorne Heshka) on the top. 

Winners of the silent auction and raffle prizes were:
Doris Ames  Ami Bakerman  Anita Cauldwell  John Dyck  Helen Fairbanks  Mike James  Dawn Kitching  Harley Krogh  Marcelle Marion  Christiane Neufeld  Birnie Reid  Eugene Reimer  Alec Robson  Jim Roy  Eva Slavicek  Mary Smith  Cindy Vogt  Diane Zuk

Thanks to all prize donors who were:
Nancy Allan  Adrian Ames  Doris Ames  Peggy BainardAcheson  Ami Bakerman  Ardythe Basham  Bill Belcher  Huguette Calvez  Anita Cauldwell  Mike James  Yvonne Lozinski  Marcelle Marion  Judy Moxley  John Neufeld  Richard Reeves  MarieAnn Reeves  Nora Reid  Eugene Reimer  Iris Reimer  Kelly-Anne Richmond  Eva Slavicek  Bep Vanderwoude  Mary Wiebe  Friends of Assiniboine Park Conservatory

Thanks to all the Board members, and friends and family for all your help to set up and take down and for helping to make this our tenth anniversary another enjoyable AGM! 

Woodridge fieldtrip 2003

On Hadashville suspension bridge 2003

Tenth anniversary cake at AGM 2008

NOCI Board at AGM 2008

Nora Reid giving presentation at AGM 2008

Sandilands Selective Cutting Project

Announcing Brokenhead Ecolological Reserve 2005

Setting a protective cage for seed bank project 2006

NOCI Argo (amphibious ATV)

Book Committee meeting 2005

Plant of the Month

Small Round-leaved Orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia)

by Lorne Heshka

Typical, Libau Bog

Manitoba is an excellent location to view Amerorchis rotundifolia.  The range of this species in our province extends from the south-east - northward to the border with Nunavut.  With a network of provincial highways extending as far north as Gillam, and a rail line continuing to Churchill, a wide range of populations of this species is readily available for observation. 

The preferred habitats of the small round-leaved orchid include moist, often calcareous coniferous forests, fens, and tundra.  Blooming begins in early June in the cool, moist, bogs and fens in the southern extent of its range and continues into late July on the sub-arctic tundra. 

Flowering plants vary in size from a mere 10cm on the tundra, to 25 cm in its southern range; with an inflorescence of one to fifteen blossoms.  Typically each flower is from 9 to12mm in size.  The lateral sepals are white, with purplish-pink dorsal sepals and petals that together form a hood over the lip.  The lip is white, three-lobed, and is spotted with purple. 

With perseverance and good fortune, astute observers in our province may discover flowers of this species that differ from the "typical".  These distinct individuals have been botanically described and assigned a "form" designation:

[no photo of beckettiae] beckettiae (Boivin) Hultén (white-flowered form) - white dorsal sepals and petals, white lateral sepals, white lip without spots.  This form was reported from Churchill in 1954 and although a number of very pale flowers have been reported since that time, all of these have had a spotted lip. 

Forma lineata, Churchill

lineata (Mousley) Hultén (lined-lip form) - broad, longitudinal purple stripes on the lip versus the typical spots.  This widespread form was first reported in 1941, at Elkwater Lake, Alberta.  In 2005 two sites were discovered in Manitoba.  The first site was observed by Bill Hildebrand and Trish Sherrer near Swan River while the second site was discovered at Churchill by a group led by the author. 

Forma rosea, Churchill

rosea P M Brown (rose-colored form) - deep rose dorsal sepals and petals, deep rose lateral sepals, white lip with rose spots.  Initially reported in Newfoundland in 1997, the holotype photograph was taken by the author at Churchill, Manitoba in 2003. 

Forma wardii, Libau Bog

wardii P M Brown - purplish-pink sepals and petals, lateral sepals white, lip white with a misting of fine spots that appears as a blush.  Discovered and photographed in 1999 by Ian Ward in the Libau Bog.  This is an unusually attractive form, and has not been reported elsewhere in North America. 

For those adventurous individuals who have braved the hoards of mosquitoes and black flies in search of the small round-leaved orchid at Churchill, it is not surprising to learn that several different color forms exist here.  Aside from the described color forms; beckettiae, lineata, and rosea, many plants have been observed with flowers in intermediate variations to these named forms.  Flowers with blotches of color on the lip along with spots, some with very pale flowers and little of the characteristic purple or mauve coloration of the sepals and petals, while others have a unique lip shape.  Although the typical three-lobed lip is common at Churchill, many blossoms have an unlobed lip which has not been reported from southern Manitoba populations. 

Intermediate colour, Churchill

With "entire" lip, Churchill

The Churchill population of this orchid is highly variable and each time we visit this fascinating region, we leave wondering not "if" but "when" other forms of Amerorchis rotundifolia will be discovered there. 

Plant of the Month References:

Morris, Frank & Edward A Eames.  1929.  Our Wild Orchids.  Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 

Ames, Doris, et al.  2005.  Orchids of Manitoba.  Native Orchid Conservation Inc, Winnipeg. 

St.  Hilaire, L.  2002.  New England Plant Conservation Program: Amerorchis rotundifolia (Banks ex Pursh) Hultén Small Round-leaved Orchis: Conservation and Research Plan for New England.  New England Wild Flower Society.  Accessed 2008-01-21 from

Brown, P M.  2004.  New Taxa from Northern and Western North America.  North American Native Orchid Journal, Volume 10, 2004. 

FNA-Editors.  1993+.  Flora of North America North of Mexico.  FNA Association.  Accessed 2008-02-03 from