What are these plants in in my yard?
July 7, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

What are these plants in in my yard? [Jun 4-1] [Jun 4-2] [Jun 4-3] [Jun 26] [Jul 7]

In the beginning of June I noticed several unidentified plants growing in my lawn. I left them alone to see what they would turn into and now, a month later, I still haven’t been able to find anyone who can identify them. Several of us have searched Google images using various descriptions without luck.

There are about 5 plants spaced out across about 10 feet. I suspect that squirrels may have planted them. This is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin if that helps.

Does anyone know what these might be?
posted by TeknoKid to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Orchids! Epipactis helleborine, to be specific. Very cool!
posted by vers at 8:59 AM on July 7, 2012

Wow, you've got wild orchids growing in your lawn! Specifically, Epipactis helleborine, a European orchid. They are occasionally invasive and quite tenacious, so good if you're looking for a tough plant and are willing to keep it under control. Yours look beautiful.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 9:13 AM on July 7, 2012


So if I was going to transplant these to a more convenient location how much of the surrounding soil should I move so as to not damage the roots?
posted by TeknoKid at 9:30 AM on July 7, 2012

Only a wild-ass guess, but at least 6 inches in diameter by 8 inches deep. More would be better than less, and remember to water regularly after transplanting until the plants are well-established.
posted by vers at 9:35 AM on July 7, 2012

If they're invasive, removing more soil is also a good idea to keep them from growing back in the original spot.
posted by maryr at 12:17 PM on July 7, 2012

One note on orchids - They absolutely depend on the mycorrhizal fungi present in their soil; so if you want to transplant them, take as much of the dirt around them as you can.

Note also that you don't just need "mycorrhizae" as an abstract concept like "dirt" - You need the very specific type(s) currently in the soil around those plants - So don't try to add one of the currently-popular "super fertilizers" containing micorrhizae to your plants, or you'll potentially end up having them out-compete the native species already established.
posted by pla at 12:42 PM on July 7, 2012

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