Tall White Rein-orchid/White Bog Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Tall White Rein-orchid/White Bog Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Tall White Rein-orchid/White Bog Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Tall White Rein-orchid/White Bog Orchid - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image 
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White Flowers ( Orchids )
Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)

Tall White Rein-orchid/White Bog Orchid
Platanthera dilatata

Season: June to August
Habitat:
 Wet, boggy areas, seeps and lake margins from the montane to the subalpine
Height:
 Up to 70 cm

Description: Also known by the genus Habenaria, the bog orchids are a very diverse group with numerous species occuring within the Canadian Rockies. As a group, they are tall orchids (up to 70 cm) with dense terminal clusters of small greenish to white flowers.

Flower: The tall white rein-orchid is the most prominent of these orchids, rising 15-70 cm with a dense terminal spike of 1 to 1.5 cm white to yellowish-white orchids. The spike contains between 5 and 30 individual flowers. Each flower has a hood composed of the convergence of the two upper sepals and the petals, two petals form wings extending to either side, while another descends to form a tongue. The tongue is markedly wider near its base, becoming narrower towards the tip. Finally, a long curving cylindrical spur descends towards the ground, bending forward slightly. The spur is 5-10 mm long and may extend beyond the lip. The flowers are very fragrant.

Leaf: There are many tightly clasping leaves that are linear to lanceolate with the base sheathing the stem. Each leaf is 10 to 30 cm long, gradually reducing in size towards the top of the plant.

Fruit/Seed: The plant produces erect, elliptical capsules.

Similar Species: Northern green rein-orchid (P. hyperborea) is a smaller plant, 5 to 60 cm. The flower spike has flowers with a hood, two wings and a tongue. The tongue is not as wide at the base as the tall white rein-orchid. The club-shaped spur descends as far as the tongue. Bracted orchid (Coeloglossum viride) looks like a small rein-orchid, but is rarely taller than 50 cm. The individual flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow. The tongue has a very square tip with two or three distinct notches. The spur is shorter than the lip, usually hidden behind the flower.

The smaller blunt-leaved bog orchid (H. obtusata) has a single, basal, lily-like leaf. It has a rounded tip, and may be up to 12 cm long. The flowers are arranged in a narrow spike at the tip of the hairless, and leafless stem. The individual flowers are almost 1 cm long, and typically orchid-like. They have two lateral petals, two petal-like sepals, a lower lip, and a spur that drops down almost as long as the lip. The lip is somewhat pointed as opposed to the tongue-like lip of the much taller northern green bog orchid.

Range: The northern green rein-orchid can be found throughout the Rocky Mountain region, streching from Alaska, south to Wyoming.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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