Finding a lovely bog orchid….

One of the pleasures of wandering about with no real agenda or expectations is that one sometimes comes across a real gem….

How beautiful is this little flower? It was just standing there with another of its kind in a little old wild cranberry bog in the middle of the dunes in Sandy Neck in Barnstable and was only about 5-6″ high.. I was there leading an art and nature group this past weekend and we had special permission to do some meandering but this little cranberry bog is actually right off to the side of a main trail going out to the beach from the marsh side–about 4 miles out.

This sweet ‘bog orchid’ is known as Rose Pogonia, Pogonia ophioglossoides and according to Mario DiGregorio is not as rare as you might think. In fact, back in the day this little flower was so commonly found in cranberry bogs that young girls were paid a penny a plant to rid the bogs of these pesky “weeds.”

The other name for this plant is Snakeweed, due to its ragged, tongue like appearance. Look for it in old cranberry bogs, especially in dune areas like High Head and Sandy Neck. You can find more information in the wonderful Cape Cod Wildflowers: A Vanishing Heritage by Mario DiGregorio and Jeff Wallner.