Green fringed orchid, ragged orchid
This orchid, a native of eastern North America, is fond of acidic, moist soils—sandy, peaty, silty, or gravelly. It occurs in moist woodlands, sandy swamps, grassy marshes and fields, shrubby bogs, and ditches. The plants are pollinated by moths, attracted by a scent the orchids emit at night. Their greenish color and lacy flowers make them difficult to distinguish from their surroundings.
Plants: 6-31" (14-80 cm) high, with round, light green terete stems.
Leaves: Alternate, elliptical, lanceolate to linear, or oblong in shape. There are one to five leaves along each stem, each 2-8" (5-20 cm) long and ½-2" (1.3-5 cm) wide. They become smaller further up the stem, and they are entire, i.e. not subdivided.
Flowers: A flowering stalk or raceme contains up to 60 flowers, each with a “lacerated” lower lip (the labellum), hence the named “fringed.” The flowers look delicate and lacy. They are white, greenish, or cream-colored, with lower petals ⅜-⅝" (1-1.7 cm) long, and sepals ⅛-¼" (4.5-7 mm) long. The back of each flower has a spur shaped like a club, ¼-⅞" (8-23 mm) long. Flowers appear in summer and fall.
Fruits: Capsules are narrowly ellipsoid and about ¾" (1.9 cm) long. They split open to release many tiny seeds which are distributed by the wind.
Platanthera lacera at Illinois Wildflowers
Platanthera lacera on goorchids.northamericanorchidcenter.org
Platanthera lacera on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org
Platanthera lacera on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Platanthera lacera on orchids.botany.wisc.edu
Platanthera lacera at Minnesota Wildflowers
Platanthera lacera description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Aug 2021.