Wild Orchids in Texas – Dichromanthus cinnabarinus

Wild Orchids in Texas – Dichromanthus cinnabarinus in the United States are a very uncommon sight. While on a trip to Big Bend National Park in the Summer of 2007, I came across a splendid specimen of one of the native Wild Orchids in Texas. It is commonly known as Scarlet ladies’ tresses. It is a rare perennial found on open slopes, in small pockets of shallow soil mostly surrounded by slick limestone. This species undergoes flowering from July-October on rocky mountain slopes, grassy hills and canyon meadows, often in limestone. It is found about 1800 meters in Texas, Mexico, and in Central America (Guatemala). This specimen was in the peak of its flowering cycle and quite beautiful. Due to the rare and delicate nature of this species, I am not at liberty to divulge the location. Just enjoy the photos and know that Big Bend is a wild and special place.

UPDATE to Wild Orchids in Texas – Dichromanthus cinnabarinus. I recently returned to the area and was pleased to discover additional orchids. On a trip in September 2016 I hiked to the location and found seven specimens in full bloom. These new photos are posted in my trip report and can be found here – Chisos Mountains Summer Rain. I will continue to check out this area in subsequents years, and I have a few other places to check where it is rumored there are more Dichromanthus cinnabarinus.

Wild Orchids in Texas - Dichromanthus cinnabarinus
Dichromanthus cinnabarinus – Scarlet ladies’ tresses
Wild Orchids in Texas - Dichromanthus cinnabarinus
Dichromanthus cinnabarinus – Scarlet ladies’ tresses


  • […] Besides having more than 65 species of cactus, it is also the home for other succulents and even terrestrial orchids. Many of these are found mostly in Mexico and are limited in the US to the extreme southwest […]

  • […] supper I made a trek to a spot where I had found some special flowers in past. To my delight, not only did I find one specimen, but found seven individuals in 4 different […]

  • Bob Barnes

    September 17, 2016 at 07:37 Reply

    Enjoyed your post very much, I will be exploring your site, looks great. We were in Big Bend this week and found it much as you described. The flowers were incredible. I am assuming that you saw the Dichromanthus cinnabarinus which I posted about today – http://www.bobbarnes.us/Bob_Barnes/Blog_-_The_Journeys_of_Bob_Barnes/Entries/2016/9/17_Entry_1.html. If not I will describe the location so you can add it to your list.

    I am interested in your GPS and mapping system. For my blogs, at bob.barnes.us and blackrange.org I have used cell phone apps with a defunct program from Google called myTracks. But I have always had trouble with dropped signals in the canyons. I am looking for a replacement and the map/chart in your post is the type of information I would typically post. Thanks. Bob

    • Richard

      September 17, 2016 at 08:36 Reply

      Rain is a very good thing for the desert!
      I’m going to contact you by email

  • Lawrence Green

    March 4, 2016 at 13:31 Reply

    I wish someone could provide me with a source for this lovely plant. I would love to trial it in my rock garden.

    • Richard

      May 14, 2016 at 14:14 Reply

      Extremely rare in the US. More common in Mexico…Someone may be cultivating in the US. Don’t know about that …Sorry

  • Larry Green

    February 8, 2016 at 15:10 Reply

    As an amateur horticulturist, I would like for someone to gather and cultivate seed of this plant and offer it for sale.

    • Richard

      May 14, 2016 at 14:15 Reply

      This plant was in a protected area in a National Park….gathering seed from it would be a good way to get a big fine and a visit to a Federal Detention Center.

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