National Park Service officials report that US Geological Survey Botanists have discovered that a type of orchid that only grows in Yosemite is a species distinct from all other orchids.
This new orchid is very small. The tennis ball yellow flower is about a quarter of an inch across.
According to a park service press release, Botanist George Henry Grinell first collected a sample of this Yosemite bog orchid, as it is known, in 1923. When scientists started to study the orchid over the past few years, they discovered that the Yosemite bog orchid was a unique species of orchid and the only native orchid that grows in the Sierra Nevada.
For fear of the unique species getting trampled, Park Service officials arent going into specifics as to where the orchid is found, but they do say that it grows in upland spring fed meadows between 6,000 and 9,000 feet south of Yosemite Valley.
The botanist who did the work to classify the flower, Alison Colwell, reports that the flowers smell like a horse corral on a hot afternoon. Others report the smell is like sweaty feet. So if you do go looking for this elusive flower, follow your nose and make sure your hiking companion has bathed recently.
More information on this newly classified Yosemite bog orchid can be found on the US Geological Survey website at usgs.gov/newsroom.