These enchanting orchids are North American natives. They favor wet habitats,
sphagnum bogs, cedar or alder swamps, and boundaries of wet areas.
Plants: 8-39" (20-100 cm) tall, with a single,
Leaves: Oval (elliptic) at the base, or sometimes oval but wider at the end opposite the stem (obovate).
Further up the stem, the leaves become much smaller and narrower. The leaves are alternate, have pointed tips, and parallel
Flowers: A cone-shaped
inflorescence up to 10" (25 cm) long tops the stem, containing 20-50 lovely flowers. Flowers are lilac-colored, sometimes
more reddish, rarely white; about ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) around, with dainty fringes (fine teeth).
Lesser purple fringed orchid has a bigger brother, greater purple fringed orchid, Platanthera grandiflora. It
has larger flowers, with lip petals at least ½" (1.4 cm) wide.
Flowers appear from July to August.
Fruits: Narrow, three-ribbed capsules
on short stalks.