Calopogon barbatus (Walt.) Ames - Bearded Grass Pink
Family - Orchidaceae
Flowering - February - April.
Habitat - Pine flatwoods, wet roadsides.
Origin - Native to North America.
Other information - This small but striking species is reported in just a few southern Alabama counties.
This species responds very well to fire and is most easily found in pine flatwoods that were burned in the previous winter.
The flowers of C. barbatus have the characteristic yellow trichomes on the upper lip of the corolla. The upper lip of the corolla (which appears to a bee as stamens covered in pollen) is hinged and falls downward when a bee lands on it. This rubs the back of the bee into the column of the corolla. If the bee has visited another flower already, the present flower will be pollinated.
A similar species, C. multiflorus Lindl., is less common in Alabama being reported from only Mobile county. This latter species has many more flowers in its inflorescence and more spatulate petals.
The genus name Calopogon derives from the Greek "calo" meaning "beautiful" and "pogo(n)" meaning "a beard" referring to the trichomes of the corolla lip.
The species epithet barbatus derives from the Latin "barbat" meaning "bearded" referring to the trichomes of the corolla lip again.
Photographs taken in the Apalachicola National Forest, FL., 3-30-05.