Purple Fringeless Orchid (Habenaria peramoena)
I was very excited to locate this beautiful wild orchid, the Purple Fringeless Orchid, growing in a meadow near the banks of Cypress Creek in North Alabama. This was the first wild orchid that I have ever found.
This wildflower's scientific name of Habenaria means "rein" or "strapped" which is thought to refer to the large "tongue" on the plant. Peramoena is latin for "beautiful".
This is a rather rare orchid in much of its range. In fact, this plant had been placed for review for being added to the endangered species list- but the request was later withdrawn when more of these wildflowers were discovered in other locations. (source)
It was interesting for me to read that as far back as 1896, this orchid was noted to be right where I found it:
For comparison- I took the photo of this plant on July 2nd, 2009, in Lauderdale County, in a "low damp meadow". Somehow or another I am reassured by these little connections to the past. Life continues to find a way- even these rare little orchids.