Indian Pink or Arethusa Orchid
I woke up thinking this morning about poet John Burroughs, who was also an important American naturalist and essayist. He played a key role in the development of the United State's own conservationist movement. It was his words about the lovely Arethusa, or Indian Pink other commons names are: Dragon's Mouth and Swamp Pink) that used to be a common sight in his day that stuck in my early morning mind:
"Arethusa was one of the nymphs who attended Diana, and was by that goddess turned into a fountain that she might escape the god of the river Alpheus, who became desperately in love with her on seeing her at the bath."
Our American orchid, the Arethusa -- is one of the prettiest of native orchids, and it has been pursued through many a marsh and quaking-bog by her lovers. The flower is rose-purple and large, with a bearded lip. She is a bright pink-purple flower, an inch or more long, with the odor of sweet violets. There are some who will claim it is pink, others will call it purple. Some will confuse it with a purple fringed orchid, also rare, because it too has it's own fringe of sorts.
I think John Burroughs would be disappointed if he were alive today, because this beautiful native jewel is now extremely rare, having been over-hunted for collection and our once many bogs and marshes all destroyed in the name of progress.
Many people living here in the U.S. don't realize that orchids are among some of our most beautiful wildflowers, particularly in the Eastern part of our country. Several orchids are found in northern woods of our Eastern states and the Indian Pink are among the most special of them.