Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - November 29, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Availability of orchids native to Austin, TX area
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty plants, I'm looking for orchids native to the Austin Texas area. I'd like to incorporate them into my pond and waterfall garden. Can you give me some names. I'd also like to know where to purchase them. Thank you.

ANSWER:

The following list of orchids occurring in Travis County was compiled from the Travis County Flora Project list from the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas and from Wild Orchids of Texas by Joe and Ann Orto Liggio.

Spring Coral Root, Corallorhiza wisteriana
Chatterbox Orchid, Epipactus gigantea
Glass Mountain Crested Coralroot, Hexalectris nitida
Ladies’ Tresses, Spiranthes cernua
Northern Slender Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis
Great Plains Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes magnicamporum
Marsh Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes odorata

Although none of the species from Travis County is listed on the Endangered and Threatened Plants in Texas and the United States, this doesn't mean that they are common. All require a somewhat specialized habitat and are restricted to that habitat. Also, none of them is particularly large and showy like the tropical orchids; thus, you are likely to have a difficult time finding them available commercially. None of the native nurseries listed for Texas in our National Suppliers Directory that had web sites with catalogs showed any native orchids for sale. There are, however, nurseries without web sites, but with telephone numbers, that you could contact. The Native North American Orchid Discussion List has a link to "Sources" for native orchids—("legal and ethical sources of these orchids that grow best wild and free"). There are no sources in or near Texas, however.

The Liggios in "Wild Orchids of Texas" (see above) point out that loss of habitat and careless or unprincipled collectors are contributing to the decline in numbers of wild orchids. They also point out that the wild orchids are very difficult to transplant successfully. Consequently, if you do find commercially available native orchids, please consider buying them only if they were nursery grown and not collected from the wild.

Due to the relative rarity and the demanding soil requirements of our native orchids, they are really best appreciated where they pop up and surprise us in the wild!

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for Anacacho Orchid Seeds
November 22, 2010 - Is there any place in TX that I can ask to send me Anacacho Orchid seeds that I can germinate?
view the full question and answer

Need source for seeds or plants of Pinus remota in Johnson City, TX..
October 18, 2011 - I cannot seem to find a source for Pinus remota or papershell pinyon pine. Who Grows this? I understand it is rare and would love to try it here in Johnson City. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Source for Texas maple keys
October 05, 2004 - I'm looking for a source for native Texas maple keys. Know of any?
view the full question and answer

Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
August 14, 2012 - Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
view the full question and answer

Where to buy native grass seeds for Blanco County Texas
April 07, 2010 - Can you recommend what kind and where to buy native grass seeds to sow on land in Blanco County which has just been cleared of cedar and burned?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.