Back in 1982 I was amazed when I sighted-in on a raceme of showy, rich violet-purple flowers. As an amateur botanist, I had finally seen the Purple Fringeless-orchid, also known as the Pride-of-the-Peak. Here it was, growing on the side of a rich woodland ravine near the top of Black Rock Mountain not far from Wintergreen in Nelson County, Virginia.
Years later I couldn't believe my eyes when I discovered this beautiful orchid growing in a moist, lowland area alongside a creek just a few miles northeast from the Whitmell community in Pittsylvania County. How strange, it seemed to me, that an orchid could escape its native, mountainous environment and become established so far from “home.” I had my camera on hand and captured the image of this nonpareil of the orchid family. To this day, I have discovered no other specimens of this orchid in Pittsylvania County.
Copyright © 2004 William T. Hathaway.