Calopogon tuberosus plate
Calopogon tuberosus from Illustrations of Orchidaceous Plants

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Arethusae
SubTribe: Bletiinae
Genus: Calopogon
R. Brown 1813
Type Species
Calopogon tuberosus

Calopogon is a genus of orchids abbreviated Cpg in trade journals..


The genus is mainly confined to the United States, with 5 species found in the southeastern U.S., but only one north into Wisconsin and parts of Ontario.


Calopogon, like many other orchids, is an indicator species for good remnant hydrology. This means that their presence is an indication of high-quality ground and surface water. Most species of calopogon frequent wet, sunny swales, bogs, and the edges of marshy areas, and associates with ferns, sedges, grasses and forbs. Calopogon oklahomensis has been observed in drier areas than Calopogon tuberosus would prefer.

One distinguishing feature of the grass pinks is that, unlike most orchids, they are non-resupinate. The lip of calopogon is on the top of the flower, not the bottom, as is common with most other genera. The brushy, yellow protuberances on the lip are also designed to attract pollinators, but they only tempt without providing a reward. To add injury to insult, the flower then snaps closed when a potential pollinator lands on it, and the insect has to crawl out of the tight quarters between the lip and the reproductive parts below in order to escape, hopefully pollinating the flower in the process. Plants are pollinated by bees.

The other deception they use is their frequent association with nectar-bearing flowers of the same color; calopogon is often an associate of the magenta marsh phlox, in the northern United States, the phlox bearing nectar to reward curious insects while the deceptive but showy calopogon does not.


Keep plant in full sun. Plant can be grown in cool to intermediate conditions. Pot the plant in sand and peat. Water regularly and keep potting media moist. Be sure to have good drainage. Plant should be watered regularly with distilled water. Do not fertilize plant.


The generic name is from Greek and means "beautiful beard", referring to the cluster of hairs adorning the labellum.


  1. Cathea Morong. 1893
  2. Helleborine Hill Britt. 1754

Species Edit


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