Platanthera psycodes (Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid)
|Also known as:||Small Purple Fringed Orchis|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist woods, swamps, marshes, wet meadows, shorelines|
|Bloom season:||July - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 5 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
Lavender to rose-purple (rarely white) irregular flowers, loosely to densely packed in a spike-like raceme up to 10 inches long at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are ½ to ¾ inch long; 3 small petal-like sepals form a hood over the 2 pollen sacs, 2 small lateral petals spread out at the sides. The lower lip is white at the base and distinctly 3 lobed, the tips of each lobe shallowly to deeply fringed, with the middle lobe largest. At the back is a long, slender, curving, purplish spur.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are generally oval to elliptic with pointed tips, toothless, hairless, sheathing the stem, and become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. At the base of the plant leaves are up to 8½ inches long and 2¾ inches wide; they are reduced to bracts near the flowers. Leaves are alternately attached on the smooth, green stem
While the Goodyera orchids appear to be perpetually in song, the Platanthera (fringed orchids) appear to me to be perpetually dancing. Minnesota is at the western edge of the range for Purple Fringed Orchid; it is most likely to be found in forests and wetlands from the northern edge of the Metro to north central counties and the Arrowhead, as well as the southeast corner of the state.
Please visit our sponsors
Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid plant
- more flowers
- atypical white flowers
- Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid habitat
- Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid in a roadside ditch
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Franconia, Chisago County, and along a county road in Cass County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in northern Aitkin County. Photos courtesy Keith Myrom taken in Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?