Platanthera lacera (Ragged Fringed Orchid)
|Also known as:||Green Fringed Orchid, Ragged Orchis|
|Habitat:||sun; wet; bogs, swamps, wet meadows|
|Plant height:||8 to 32 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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Flowers are sparsely to densely packed in a 2 to 6-inch spike at the top of the plant. Individual flowers are ½ to ¾ inch long, whitish green, pale green or yellowish green, irregularly shaped. At the top of the flower, forming a hood, are 2 narrow rounded petals covered by a green sepal; 2 more larger sepals curl down behind the flower. Under the hood are 2 small yellowish tubular stigma. The lower petal is the showiest part of the flower, about ½ inch wide and usually paler than the rest of the flower. It is lobed in 3 parts—2 side lobes that extend outward and 1 that extends down, each lobe deeply divided into fringed sections. There is a long spur at the back of the flower that curves down behind the lower petal.
Leaves at the base of the plant are up to 5 inches long and 1 inch wide, quickly becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. The upper leaves are more densely packed and about 1 inch long. Leaves have a prominent center vein, faint parallel veins, a blunt point at the tip and sheath the main stem at the base.
This is one of 43 species of orchid native to Minnesota. There are other fringed orchids, but those are pure white, purple or yellow.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Blaine, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Lorry Erickson taken in her cranberry bog in Wisconsin.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?