Purple Fringed Orchid – Platanthera psycodes

Purple Fringed Orchid Platanthera psycodes Flower

The many flowers on the flower spike of the Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes)

The Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes) is a stunning orchid of the sedge meadows, and the edges of swamps, stream banks and other wet places.  I hate to use the word lesser in its common name, because what could be better than to stumble upon this plant while trudging through the wetlands?

Most orchids are a rare sight and Purple Fringed Orchid is still an uncommon sight despite of its wide distribution.  I found this lone plant growing among sedges after a wild fire.  After the fire many wildflowers were in bloom, and the native sedges and grasses were producing seeds in abundance.  Previously there were few of many species present, and this shows the benefits of grass fires.

The Purple Fringed Orchid is a welcome sight, and I hope that someday you’ll stumble across one on your journeys through wet places. Purple Loosestrife pullers should take notice, because with a quick glance you might mistake this orchid for the invasive Purple Loosestrife plant.

Purple Fringed Orchid Platanthera psycodes Leaves

The base and leaves of the Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes) surrounded by native sedges.

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