Monday, May 14, 2012

Adam-and-Eve ( Aplectrum hyemale)...Part 2

Until I began talking to local naturalists I didn't know Ohio had orchids. When I thought of orchids I thought of the large purple and white ones that were made into fragile and special corsages when I was in high school and college.

Botanically, an orchid, according to Webster's New World Dictionary, " characterized by waxy pollen masses, minute seeds, and bilaterally symetrical flowers with three petals, one of which is lip-shaped with many distinctive forms".

Adam-and-Eve gets its name from its two joined corms lying side by side. There are folklore practioners who tell fortunes by placing the two bulbs in water and determine fortunes by noting which bulb pops up first.  This bit of information came from The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers by Timothy Coffey. He cited Gibson, 1905 as the source of his information.

These corms, the two jointed bulbs, give Adam-and-Eve its other common name, the one I learned it by...Putty-Root. They contain a glutinous putty which makes a strong cement if the tubers are crushed and a little water is added and can be used to mend broken china and glass.

Putty-Root (or Adam-and-Eve), is found throughout most of the eastern United States and Canada. It prefers moist, rich, deciduous woods. It is "of Special Concern" in Connecticut and "Endangered" in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. It is "Rare" in Pennsylania, and "Threatened" in Vermont.

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