Wild Orchid in North America

Native Orchids

North America is full of wonderful wild orchids. No matter where you live or travel to, there are bound to be some orchid species native to the area. Many species are very showy and easy to spot, while others are very discreet and very easily overlooked.

A great way to familiarize yourself with native orchids is to visit local botanical gardens because most will have a native plant exhibit. You can also search for local orchid societies to find out whether they hold any wild orchid group tours or outings. If you’re not really sure what to look for, a guided tour will help give you some guidance in finding wild orchids. There are also many good native orchid field guides to help you identify the native orchids in the area.

Remember, it is important to never remove a wild orchid from its environment. Not only it is illegal, but many orchid species are endangered and it can disrupt the ecosystem’s balance and endanger other flora and fauna.

Below, we’ll review the most commonly found wild orchids in North America.


Cypripedium reginaeThere are many species of orchids that are found throughout Canada that thrive in the sandy, boggy, rocky, and forest environments. Many beautiful lady-slipper orchids are found including the Cypripedium which is related to a Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium. Approximately 10 different Cypripedium species can be found in Canada. The most well-known of these being the Cypripedium parviflorum (Yellow Lady’s Slipper) and Cypripedium reginae (Queen
Lady’s Slipper).

Other genera with species native to different areas of Canada include:

  • Calopogon
  • wild orchids

  • Cephalanthera
  • Epicactus
  • Goodyera
  • Listera
  • Malaxis
  • Piperia
  • Platanthera
  • Spiranthes

United States

Native orchids are found growing all over the United States in the mountains, forests, grasslands, and swamps. Many of the orchids that are native to the U.S. are hard to recognize as orchids because they are very small plants with even smaller blooms. The United States is home to approximately 200 orchid species, most of which are terrestrial.

Nearly 100 of the species found in the U.S. are found in Florida. One of the most popular native orchids found in Florida is the Dendrophylax lindenii—the Ghost Orchid.

Other popular genera with species native to the state of Florida include:

  • Calopogon
  • Corallorhiza
  • wild orchids

  • Encyclia
  • Epidendrum
  • Habeneria
  • Hexalectris
  • Ionopsis
  • Isotria
  • Listera
  • Malaxis
  • Mesadenus
  • Oceoclades
  • Ponthieva
  • Pteroglossapsis
  • Triphora
  • Vanilla

United States – Northeast
Many species of orchids exist in varying concentrations throughout the American northeastern region, including:

  • Amerorchis
  • Goodyera

  • Calopogon
  • Calypso
  • Cypripedium
  • Epicactus
  • Goodyera
  • Isotria
  • Liparis
  • Listera
  • Malaxis
  • Platanthera
  • Pogonia
  • Spiranthes


Mexico has more than 1,200 species of native orchids! Some of the popular native Mexican orchids include the Brassavola Nodosa (Lady of the Night Orchid), Prosthechea cochleata (Clamshell or Cockleshell Orchid), and the wonderful-smelling Vanilla planifolia.

Other genera with species native to Mexico include:

  • Barkeria
  • Brassia
  • Catasetum
  • Cattleya
  • wild orchids

  • Cypripedium
  • Epidendrum
  • Laelia
  • Masdevallia
  • Maxillaria
  • Phragmipedium
  • Pleurothallis
  • Rhyncholaelia
  • Oncidium
  • Sobralia
  • Trichocentrum

The list above is far from a complete list because there are thousands of orchid species in North America alone. Because there are so many different orchids growing in the wild, the next time you are out on a hike, be sure to be on the lookout!

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Orchid Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Orchids right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Orchid Articles…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this link here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,


Ryan “The Orchid Guy” :-)

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! :-)

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