Calypso bulbosa (L.) Oakes
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
USDA Symbol: CABU
Calypso bulbosa is chlorophyllous but also hemi-mycoheterotrophic; that is, it makes it own food, but also utilizes at least one fungus species to provide some of its carbon intake. The known fungi involved is Thanatephorus ochraceus, a saprotroph.
A single mostly pink bilateral pendant flower with an inflated, slipper-like lip petal hangs at tip of an erect, reddish flower stalk that grows above 1 basal leaf.
This short perennial rises from a small tuber and is the only species in this genus. Named for the sea nymph Calypso of Homer's Odyssey, who detained the willing Odysseus on his return from Troy; like Calypso, the plant is beautiful and prefers secluded haunts.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 9 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Rarely white.
DistributionUSA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , ME , MI , MN , MT , NH , NM , NY , OR , SD , UT , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , NU , ON , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Across Canada and northern United States to Arizona, New Mexico, New York, and New England.
Native Habitat: Thick duff and mossy ground in cool, damp, mainly coniferous woods.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Calypso bulbosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Calypso bulbosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Calypso bulbosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-24
Research By: TWC Staff