Arkansas Native Orchids


Orchid Society of the Ozarks member Olin Karch became fascinated with orchids ever since his high school days and his 1957 Science Fair exhibition.

After obtaining his college degree in Botany, Olin has hunted for and photographed native orchids in many parts of the world, including Central and South America, as well as in various states within the U.S.


Lovell Hollow, Olin's gorgeous, 25 acre piece of woodland in northwest Arkansas where he makes his home, boasts native species ranging from the diminutive Green Adder's Mouth Orchid, Malaxis unifolia, shown at left, to the Large Yellow Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, shown below.


Olin has compiled photographs and descriptions of the Arkansas native orchids he has found growing within an hour's hike of his woodland cabin, and the resulting booklet is called The Orchids of Lovell Hollow. The photos are stunning, and, true to Olin's botanical training, his observations and descriptions in the text are precise and engaging. Where applicable, he has included a plant's folk traditions and medicinal uses.

The native orchids found in Arkansas are all terrestrial and deciduous, with blooming seasons specific to certain months of the year. Despite the sublime beauty of their blooms when seen at close range, the small size of many of their flowers takes a keen eye to spot in the wild. Be sure to check out Olin's Arkansas Orchid Web Page for details about these specatacular plants.

A note of caution: as orchid growers, we may be tempted, when coming upon a plant growing in the wild, to "dig it up and take it home." Don't succumb to that temptation! Many of our wild orchids require conditions which the average grower will not be able to provide. In fact, researchers found one species that needed a substrate so acidic, the only way to grow specimens in the lab was to water them with vinegar...

Several reputable vendors exist who sell seed-grown native plants. If you would like to try your hand at growing native orchids, a quick internet search will tell you who these vendors are. When you're out in the wilderness, please help preserve our wild flora: take only photographs!

The Orchid Society of the Ozarks is deeply grateful to Mr. Karch for providing the plant photographs shown on this page.

Many thanks, Olin!