small purple fringed orchid

(Platanthera psycodes)

Conservation Status
small purple fringed orchid
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Small purple fringed orchid is a 17 to 40 tall, slender, perennial, easily recognized orchid. It rises on a single stem from an underground tuber and 4 to 10 fleshy roots. The tuber is slender, vertical, and 1¼ to 3 long. The roots are slender, thickened near the base, and 1¼ to 3 long.

The stem is erect, stout, light green, hairless, and leafy, especially in the lower two-thirds.

There are 4 to 12 alternate leaves scattered along the stem. They are stalkless and wrap around the stem at the base (sheathing). They may be widely spreading, ascending, or bent backward near the tip. The lowest 2 to 4 leaves are large, lance-shaped, oblong ellipse-shaped, or oblong egg-shaped, 4 to 6¾ long, and ¾ to 2¾ wide. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are untoothed. The leaves become gradually or abruptly shorter and narrower as they ascend the stem. Upper leaves are reduced to bracts.

The inflorescence is loose to dense, 1½ to 8½ long spike of 20 to 25 flowers at the end of the stem. Each flower is subtended by a hairless, untoothed, lance-shaped or linear bract. The bracts in the lower part of the inflorescence are 1½ to 2 long. They become gradually smaller as they approach the top of the inflorescence, where they are only about to long.

The flowers are stalked, showy, fragrant, and more than in diameter. They are upside down due to the twisting of the flower stalk. There are 3 lavender to rose-purple petals (2 lateral and one lower) alternating with 3 lavender to rose-purple, petal-like sepals (2 lateral and one upper). The filaments and style are united to form a column. The sepals are oblong to elliptic or inversely egg-shaped, to ¼ long, untoothed, and hairless. The lateral petals are inversely egg-shaped to spoon-shaped and are irregularly and shallowly toothed at the tip. The upper sepal and two lateral petals spread upward and forward over the lower petal and column. The two lateral sepals are bent backward or spread to the sides of the lower petal. The lower (lip) petal is ¼ to ½ long, ¼ to 9 16 wide, and projects forward or downward. It is deeply divided into 3 fan-shaped segments. Each segment is fringed less than half way to the base. The lateral segments are slightly elevated above the lower segment. The lower segment is often 2-lobed. The base of the petal is modified into a narrow, curved, to long spur.

The fruit is several erect, narrowly ellipse-shaped, ribbed, ¼ to ½ long capsules.




17 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Greater purple fringed orchid (Platanthera grandiflora) is similar in appearance but does not occur in Minnesota.


Wet meadows; sedge meadows; thickets; thin woods; and shallow, moist, roadside ditches. Areas that are wet in spring and after a rain but are otherwise moist. Full or partial sun.




July 3 to August 20




Small purple fringed orchid is said to be long-lived, yet no part of the plant is ever more than 1½ years old. A new underground tuber is produced at the base of the aerial stem each year. During the summer the tuber separates from the aerial stem but remains attached by an underground stem (rhizome). The tuber generates roots but remains otherwise dormant for the rest of the growing season. The tuber is the only part of the plant that survives the winter and it is from the tuber that a new aerial stem rises the following spring.


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  


Orchidaceae (orchids)  
  Subfamily Orchidoideae  
  Tribe Orchideae  
  Subtribe Orchidinae  


Platanthera (bog orchids)  
  Section Lacera  



Blephariglotis psycodes

Blephariglottis psycodes

Habenaria psycodes

Platanthera psychodes


Common Names


lesser purple fringed orchid

purple fringed orchid

small purple fringed orchid













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



The united filaments and style of an orchid. The structure formed by the united filaments of plants in the Mallow family.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



An underground root (as with dahlias) or stem (as with potatoes), thickened by the accumulation of reserved food (usually starch), which serves for food storage and vegetative propagation.























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Bill Reynolds

    small purple fringed orchid      


    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  
    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  
    small purple fringed orchid      


    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  
    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  
    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  


    small purple fringed orchid   small purple fringed orchid  
    small purple fringed orchid      


    small purple fringed orchid      



  Platanthera psycodes (Purple Fringed-Orchid)
Allen Chartier
  Platanthera psycodes (Purple Fringed-Orchid)  
  Platanthera psycodes
Joshua Mayer
  Platanthera psycodes  

Purple Fringed Orchid




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Location: Pennington Co.

small purple fringed orchid  




Created: 1/21/2014

Last Updated:

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