Alpine Flower a Day: Molloy's Potato Orchid

Alpine Flower a Day: Day 22, Molloy's Potato Orchid (Gastrodia molloyi)

– about half a metre tall with 12 and up flowers on the stalk

– at my friend Rachel's bach in her beech forest garden in Peel Forest


Potato orchid, photo: Rach Smith

He beholds you


Beholders are in the eye

of beauty, the potato orchid noted

to the man. Do you have a pupil

or tongue or dimpled thigh? she cried

through her green floral noses.

Are you old, Father William, are you

plump? I can't quite see you, I'm a little

blind. Are you spotted or plain?

And what of your name?

Is it frumpy like mine, a cunning-

ham, minor or molloy, do you know,

I'm sure I don't. Are you beloved, beholder,

like I, are you fodder for the screen

with your long white limbs, do you

stand on your head and repel

caterpillars? she said.


And Will replied, yes, yes, that is true,

I am old and blind, and you are to me

quite the find. I behold you, potato,

with my eye because you, it's no lie,

you are a wee beauty.



Potato orchid, Peel Forest. Photo by Rachel Smith

If you're interested in the inspiration behind this month-long series of 'An Alpine Flower A Day' about NZ alpine flowers and poems, you can find more in my first post: An Alpine Flower A Day Enjoy!

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