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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

ORCHIDACEAE

ORCHID FAMILY

Dieter H. Wilken and William F. Jennings

Perennial, terrestrial in CA, some nongreen, generally from rhizomes
Leaves linear to ± round or scale-like, generally sessile
Inflorescence: generally raceme or spike, bracted
Flower bisexual, bilateral, sometimes spurred; sepals generally 3, generally petal-like, generally free, uppermost generally erect; petals 3, lowest different ("lip"); stamen generally 1, fused with style and stigma into column, pollen generally sticky, generally removed as sessile anther sacs; ovary inferior, generally twisted 180° (so lip appears to be lowest perianth segment), 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal; stigmas 3, generally under column tip
Fruit: capsule
Seeds very many, minute
Genera in family: ± 800 genera, ± 18,000 species: especially tropical (worldwide except deserts). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattelya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedalum; Vanilla planifolia fruits used as source of food flavoring
Reference: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California, Cornell Univ.]
Nongreen plants derive nutrition through fungal intermediates.

PIPERIA

PIPERIA

Caudex tuber- or bulb-like, 1–4 cm, generally ovoid
Leaves: basal 2–5, linear to widely oblanceolate; cauline bract-like
Inflorescence: spike or raceme, generally cylindric; flower bract generally < flower
Flower: perianth white to green; sepals generally 2–5.5 mm, 1–2 mm wide, 1-veined, upper pointed forward to erect, lower free, spreading to reflexed; lateral petals ± = sepals, spreading to erect; lip pointed forward or down, spurred; column < lip
Fruit ascending to erect
Species in genus: ± 8 species: w North America
Etymology: (Charles V. Piper, Am botanist, 1867–1926)
Reference: [Morgan & Ackerman 1990 Lindleyana 5:205–211]
Some species difficult to separate; green-flowered species doubtfully distinct from P. unalascensis.

Native

P. unalascensis (Spreng.) Rydb.

Plant 15–70 cm
Leaves: basal 7–15 cm, 5–40 mm wide
Inflorescence 5–40 cm, generally open, sometimes dense above
Flower: perianth green; upper sepal ascending or pointed forward; lateral petals ± erect to pointed forward; lip 2–5 mm, oblong to deltate, generally pointed down, tip upcurved; spur 1.5–5 mm, pointed back or down
Chromosomes: n=21
Ecology: Generally dry sites, scrub, woodland, forest
Elevation: < 3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except Great Central Valley, South Coast Ranges), Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, ne Canada, Colorado
Synonyms: Habenaria u. (Spreng.) S. Watson
Horticultural information: very DFCLT.

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