Platanthera orbiculata (Large Round-leaved Orchid)

Plant Info
Also known as: Lesser Round-leaved Orchid
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; coniferous bogs and swamps, moist upland pine woods
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:8 to 28 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Open raceme on sturdy flower stalk of 6 to 33 green and white flowers about 1 inch long. A squarish upper sepal forms a hood over the 2 creamy pollen sacs, 2 oval-elliptic lateral petals spread out and point up, 2 larger oval sepals spread out to the sides. A long narrow tapered lower lip falls straight down, with a long slender spur, thickest at tip, running parallel to the ovary.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Two opposite leaves at the base, nearly flattened against the ground, oval to nearly round, 2½ to 6 inches long, 1¼ to 6 inches wide with fine parallel veins and a more prominent central vein. 1 to 6 bract-like leaves are scattered along the upper part of the smooth stem.


Rarely in dense populations but scattered over an area, this species can be confused with Hooker's orchid, P. hookeri, but the latter has no bracts along the stem and the flower spur is tapered and narrowest at the tip. Large Round-leaved Orchid sometimes goes by Habenaria orbiculata (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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Sherrie - St. Louis Co,Burntside Lake,N Arm Trail,Sentinal Trail
on: 2015-08-09 07:59:03

Lesser Roundleaved Orchid, Plalanthera orbiculata (Purse) Lindl. (Native Orchids of Minnesota, Welby Smith).
Location: Burntside Lake, North Arm Trail
Date: July 27, 2015
ID verified by Welby Smith. Have photos--which are awful

Posted by: James W Luedtke - Cascade State Park
on: 2023-08-16 15:48:24

August 16. Well past bloom, but spent flowers remained.

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