Orchidaceae: Orchid Family — Piperia (Rein-orchid)
Orchids are perennials, with over 25,000 species worldwide. All Monterey county orchids grow in the soil, rather than on trees. Flowers are irregular, with the lowest petal being different from the other two petals. There are commonly 3 sepals, all the same, which resemble petals. Many orchids have a symbiotic relationship with soil fungus, which explains the absence of green leaves in those species.
There are three groups of (mostly native) orchids found in Monterey County. 1) those without obvious leaves, such as Corallorhiza (Coralroot); 2) those with leaves and spurs on the flowers, such as Piperia (Rein-orchid); 3) those with leaves but without floral spurs, such as Epipactis (Helleborine / Stream Orchid).