Large, showy orchids are often associated with the tropics. The Venus-slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa, demonstrates that the tropics don't hold a monopoly on stunning orchids. The Venus-slipper is found in woodlands across Canada, often in fairly high numbers and is surely the highlight of any spring-time nature walk.
The Venus-slipper orchid can also occur where the usual purple lateral petals and sepals are white. 
A true northern beauty, the sparrow's-egg lady's slipper, Cypripedium passerinum, is a rare orchid found in Canada and northern Montana. I have been fortunate enough to have encountered this orchid twice including this one that several groups of people walked by without realising the treat they were missing!
Wetlands are superb places to look for orchids. The tall white bog orchid, Platanthera dilatata, is found across northern and western North American in marshes and bogs with many small flowers crowded onto each raceme.
Looking like a comical, cartoon-like bee, the bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) is a European species found in meadows during the early summer. Bee orchids release a chemical that mimics the pheromone female bees release to attract males. The duped males then acquire the orchid pollen which they transport to a neighbouring flower.
The fly orchid, Ophrys insectifera, is another member of the group of European orchids that tricks bees into performing pollination chores by releasing pheromone-like chemicals.
The yellow lady's slipper, Cypripedium calceolus, is particularly attractive to photograph in early morning light. Clusters of these orchids are found in woodlands, often in very large numbers.
Yellow lady's slippers were the first large orchid I ever saw growing in the wild and I look forward to every spring to when I can go out and see the new crop.
Growing up from a single small round leaf lying flat on the ground, the round-leaved orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia) is a delightful wetland inhabitant found throughout Canada and the northern United States.

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