I only had one more orchid left to find in Loos – the ghost orchid (Epipogium aphyllum). It is probably also the most fascinating of all the orchids, as the English name implies. The Swedish name is skogsfru, literally translated as ”wife of the forest”, the Finnish name metsänemä translates as ”mother of the forest”. I think that the English name best describes the nature of this unpredictable flower. Now you see it, now you don’t – it comes and goes as it pleases, appears in one place this year and then is gone for ten years until the next time, or maybe it will never show itself again but suddenly appears some way on the side of the first place. It blooms only for a short time and then withers quickly and leaves no trace of its existence, it doesn’t even have any leaves to remind you that it once grew here. Just to show exactly how mysterious it can be, it threw in a surprise for us that even my guide had never seen before. We found a group of no less than 16 plants, and then nearby a group of 10 that was so tight it looked more like a ghost orchid bush. Normally you’re more likely to find groups of maybe 5, and even more likely just some lonely scattered flowers here and there on the forest floor. The orchid in the picture is one of the lonely ones, beautifully decorated with rain drops.
That large group of ghost orchids is still haunting my memory, if you please pardon the pun. It was an orchid encounter I won’t soon forget!