Calypso bulbosa (L.) Oakes
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #20534)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Calypso bulbosa
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Species Information

Perennial herb from fleshy, cylindrical or globe-shaped corms; stems 5-20 cm tall, smooth but with 2 to 4 sheathing bracts.
Single basal, long-stalked, blades elliptical or heart- to egg-shaped, smooth, 3-6.5 cm long, stalks 1-6 cm long.
Inflorescence a single, showy, terminal flower, the flowers variegated with purple, pink, and yellow; sepals and lateral petals alike, magenta with 3 darker veins, narrowly lanceolate, 12-25 mm long; lip slipper-shaped, nodding, pouched, yellowish-purple to reddish-purple, variously spotted or streaked with darker purple, 15-25 mm long, the lower portion with apron, hairy above; hood-like column purplish, 8-11 mm long, widely egg-shaped, arched over pouch.
Capsules, erect, ellipsoid, 2-3 cm long.
Two varieties are found in BC

1. Bristlelike hairs on lips sparse, whitish; lip apron white, mottled or irregularly blotched with purple................... var. occidentalis (Holzinger) Boivin

1. Bristlelike hairs on lips numerous, yellow; lip apron yellowish................ var. americana (R.Br.) Luer

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Calypso bulbosa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
988 3 1810
Slope Gradient (%)
19 0 205

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

265 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BWBS(68), CDF(19), CWH(42), ESSF(30), ICH(73), IDF(120), MH(1), MS(78), PP(2), SBPS(22), SBS(119), SWB(2)

Habitat and Range

Dry to moist, mossy forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; var. occidentalis - common W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; var. americana - common E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; circumpolar; var. occidentalis - N to AK and YT and S to ID and CA, Eurasia; var. americana - N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, VT, MI, WI, MN, SD, NM and AZ.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia