small purple fringed orchid

(Platanthera psycodes)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

small purple fringed orchid

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland

Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Uncommon

Habitat

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.

Photo by Bill Reynolds
Flowering

July 3 to August 20

 
Flower Color

Purple

 
Height

17 to 40

 

Identification

This 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.

 
Similar
Species

No similar species.

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


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 25, 28.


Comments

Spreading?
Two of the photos below were taken in Minneopa State Park and one was taken in Pennington County. Both sites are outside of this species’ previously reported distribution area.

Long-Lived?
This 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.


Taxonomy

Family:

Orchidaceae (orchid)

 

Subfamily:

Orchidoideae

 

Tribe:

Orchideae

 

Subtribe:

Orchidinae

 
Synonyms

Blephariglotis psycodes

Blephariglottis psycodes

Habenaria psycodes

Platanthera psychodes

 
Common
Names

lesser purple fringed orchid

purple fringed orchid

small purple fringed orchid


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

bract

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

 

column

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

 

filament

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.

 

rhizome

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

 

sepal

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

 

tuber

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


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Inflorescence

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  small purple fringed orchid    
       

Flowers

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

 
     

 

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Bill Reynolds
7/25/2009

Location: Pennington Co.

 

small purple fringed orchid


     
     
 

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