All spring, I have been pulling a weed out of my shady perennial bed that looks a little bit like Soloman's Seal... but not quite. I knew it was a weed because I didn't plant it there, and there was nothing in that area but grass and the usual lawn weeds before I made it into a garden bed. Today, I found one of these weeds that had escaped me and made it to the bloom stage. Imagine my surprise when I examined the flower stalk a bit more closely and saw this:
They look an awful lot like little orchids, don't they? The above is a pretty accurate representation of the flower color, but check out how small the individual flowers are as compared to my thumb in the darker picture below:
Needless to say, I was intrigued. I came inside to do some Google searching, starting with "native orchid" (yes, I'm an optimist!) and then "small white flowered orchid"... finally, when I typed in "orchid weed" on the third try, I made a plant match. This is indeed a weedy, non-native orchid, epipactis helleborine, which has been naturalized here in the U.S. since the late 1800s.
It is now sitting in a vase, safely inside my kitchen, but I'm sure that its creeping rhizomes are still hanging out in my garden... waiting to send up another set of shoots next spring. I'm not about to let it continue to "naturalize" in my garden, but I couldn't resist showing it here. As much trouble as some orchids are to grow, it just kind of makes me smile to know that there are a few types that "grow like a weed" as well!