Platanthera blephariglottis

An endangered white-flowering fringe orchid

Platanthera blephariglottis white fringed orchid

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA Synonyms:   Habenaria blephariglottis

The showy pure white flower of this native orchid has a long, deeply fringed lower lip petal that is 0.5 to 1 inch long. There is a long narrow nectar spur that projects behind the flower that is nearly an inch long. The entire flower is about 1.5 inches long. The lateral sepals are rounded and bend downwards and outwards more than 90 degrees. The upper sepal is elliptical and concave and combines with the two upper petals to form a hood. There is a lance-shaped bract beneath each flower. The flowers grow in spikes on a leafy stalk. The petals and sepals are the same color. The blooming period is June to September. The species name translates into the appropriate "fringe-tongued".

The alternate leaves are scattered along the stem and variable but usually ovate to lanceolate. The lower leaves are up to 14 inches long. The upper leaves are reduced to bracts. The plant grows 12-30 inches tall in moist meadows, shorelines and bogs.

This species is found from Michigan, southern Quebec, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and south along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In Western Pennsylvania, it is historically documented in Erie, Warren and Somerset counties. It is listed as endangered in PA and Ohio. This is the largest and showiest of the spurred white orchids in North America.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Grows in sphagnum bogs and swamps.

Mostly found in the northeast of the state and is rare.

Range is from Michigan, southern Quebec, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and south along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Wetland codes

Flowers June through August.

PA-satus: PE (Endangered)
S-rank:    S2S3 (Imperiled to vulnerable)
G-rank:    G5 (Secure)