Platanthera obtusata (Blunt-leaved Orchid)
|Also known as:||Small Northern Bog Orchid|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; coniferous bogs and swamps|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||3 to 11 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Shorter, sturdy raceme of 4 to 18 green to white flowers, each about ¼ inch across and ½ inch long. An upper sepal and 2 petals loosely form a hood above the creamy colored pollen sacs, 2 larger broad lateral sepals sweep out and back on sides. The long narrow lower lip is sharply tapered below; the spur behind the flower is of similar shape and size. This flower typically displays with upper hood projected straight out horizontally, lower sepals and lip projecting down and back.
Leaves and stem:
Usually 1, rarely 2 basal leaves 1½ to 6 inches long, ½ to ¾ inch wide, typically broadest above the middle, with a blunt or rounded tip and tapering at the base. The stem is smooth, usually without bract-like leaves that are found on many other Platanthera species, but rarely has 1 on the upper stem.
Notes:Populations can be dense in preffered habitat. As is often a risk, diminuative plant species are at constant risk of would-be enthusiasts walking all over them. When in these habitats, practice being a good gardener and watch where you put your big feet (and set down your camera equipment)! This species sometimes goes by Habenaria obtusata (as in Newcomb's and Peterson's field guides), but genus Habenaria is now widely considered restricted to the tropical species and Platanthera the temperate zone species.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Chippewa National Forest near Akeley in Hubbard/Cass counties
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?