Platanthera clavellata (Small Green Wood Orchid)
|Also known as:||Green Woodland Orchid, Club-spur Orchid|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; wet, acidic soil; swamp forests, peat bogs and sedge meadows|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Cream to greenish-white irregular flowers in a loosely packed raceme up to about 2 inches long at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are ¼ inch wide; an upper sepal and 2 petals form an enclosing hood over the flower center, 2 small lateral sepals spread out at the sides. The lower lip is nearly rectangular, marginally 3 lobed. At the back is a long, slender, club shaped spur. Flower sits atop a conspicuous swollen ovary that twists to display the flower horizontally.
Leaves and stem:
A single principal leaf, oblong, 2 to 5½ inches long and up to 1 inch wide, is attached below mid-stem with 1 to several small bract like leaves widely spaced above it. The stem is smooth and slender, sheathed below.
Fruit is an ascending capsule about 1/3 inch long.
Early herbarium records had this diminuative slender maypole scattered around the metro but progress took care of them; the last herbarium specimen in Ramsey County was collected in 1917. In 1984 Platanthera clavellata was listed as a State Special Concern species. Small populations are still hiding in St. Louis and Lake counties - the Ely area is as reasonable place as any to poke around for any that are left.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in a wet meadow/bog south of Ely. Photos courtesy John Thayer taken in Chippewa National Forest, Itasca County.
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