Arethusa bulbosa
Dragon's mouth, Moss Nymph, Wild Pink

LocationNewfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan.
Specific Habitat

Arethusa bulbosa is a native of cool sphagnous bogs, usually found at the edges rather than the wettest parts of these bogs. It is frequently found along side rose pogonia and grass-pink but not seen as frequently as it flowers earlier and is susceptible to late frosts.

Flowering SeasonFlowers can appear in early June in the South through mid-July in the North.

Up to 35 cm. tall with a single grass-like leaf which continues to develop after the flower has reached its peak. The solitary flower is magenta with yellow and white but can vary to as light as white in colour. The petals are erect at the base but the apex is arched forward over the lip. The lip is curved down, wavy on the margin mostly whitish with purple blotches and with a brush of whitish hairs on the floor.
While Arethusa is sometimes compared to Calypso, these early bloomers do not share the same habitat: Calypso prefers shaded cedar swamps, but Arethusa prefers sunny, open sphagnum bogs.


Arethusa is named for a river nymph of classical Greek mythology. It is also interesting to note that nearly all orchid writers seem to wax poetic when describing this beautiful flower.


Orchids of Ontario
Orchids of the Northeast
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.