Gardening Native plants Orchids

Rare Orchid Protected… Along With Its Ecosystem

Nature Conservancy of Canada buys bog to protect water, rare orchid

The following post is taken from a press release from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, an organization dedicated to the preservation of natural environments in Canada. What really impressed me was seeing the speed at which this all came together. A rare orchid is discovered and presto! One year later, an entire ecosystem has been protected in order to preserve it. And all this took place only a few kilometers from my home! Hats off to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners for this conservation effort!

Larry Hodgson

Rare orchid found near Quebec City spurs protection efforts

Forty-two kilometers from Quebec City, in the heart of a peat bog located at the junction of three municipalities; Fossambault-sur-le-Lac, Shannon and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, something marvelous was discovered by a biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC): a threatened species of orchid.

Part of the peat bog that has been protected. Photo: Nature Conservancy of Canada

One year after the find, a 112-hectare property, the equivalent of 708 NHL-sized skating rinks, was purchased by NCC. This wetland, acquired with financial support from the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs of Québec, is very important for the health of nature in this area, in addition to providing habitat for many animals and plants.

The land near Fossambault-sur-le-Lac offers not just critical habitat for the rare southern twayblade orchid (Neottia bifolia, syn. Listera australis), it also filters water that flows north into Lake Saint-Joseph. To keep a lake healthy, it is important to protect its shores, as well as the streams, marshes or bogs that are connected to it. Bogs are wetlands that support sensitive species that might not thrive elsewhere. These spaces also provide a range of environmental benefits, such as absorbing excess water and helping to limit the impacts of climate change by absorbing carbon.

NCC’s initial survey of the bog in 2020 found animal tracks and suitable environments for a range of animals, among them Canada warbler (threatened), olive-sided flycatcher (threatened), as well as pickerel frog, four-toed salamander and smooth green snake, all of which are likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable.

The Southern twayblade gets its name because it bears only two leaves. Post: Shrikethesecond, Botanical Porn,

Nevertheless, the star of this wetland remains the southern twayblade, which is designated as threatened in Quebec. The natural range of this beautiful, delicate and rare little orchid is limited in Quebec to only certain bogs in southern parts of the province. Its red flowers are arranged in clusters on its thin reddish stem and its small size (4 to 8 in/10 to 21 cm in height) make it a very different orchid from the ones we know as houseplants. It also shares its environment with a few curiosities of the plant kingdom: insectivorous plants, such as the purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) and spatulate leaf sundew (Drosera intermedia).

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect the country’s most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 15 million hectares, coast to coast to coast, including around 118,600 acres (48,000 hectares) in Quebec. To learn more, visit

NCC would like to thank its financial partners who contributed to the protection of this site, including the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Martin Bédard of Bleu, Gestion & Investissements inc. and Bilodard inc.

3 comments on “Rare Orchid Protected… Along With Its Ecosystem

  1. marianwhit

    This is wonderful. Have you looked into the late E.O. Wilson’s call for protection of “half-earth” to prevent Anthropocene extinction?

  2. Jessica Crawford

    Wow, you’re right, that was a really fast land purchase. Must have been some co-operative land owners Good news story!

  3. Love orchids and so glad that this one is now protected. What excites me more is that an ecosystem is protected. Without the ecosystem, that orchid and it’s “companions”- flora and fauna, soil and water – would not exist. That is what you said, but sometimes it bears repeating. Too many times we think about saving the one thing, not the whole. Thank you, Larry, for a success story!

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