Platanthera cooperi (S.Watson) R.M.Bateman

Chaparral Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Habenaria cooperi, Piperia cooperi

Platanthera cooperi, the Chaparral Orchid, is an uncommon orchid in southern California that just crosses the border into Baja California, Mexico. Once considered to be a form of P. unalascensis, these two orchids are sufficiently different to warrant separate species designation. P. cooperi has a tall inflorescence with up to 100 small green flowers with a distinct honey scent at night. The short, thick spur is about as long as the labellum. The basal leaves usually wither at the time of flowering. This orchid grows in the harsh environment of exposed ridges and bluffs near the top of the chaparral and goes dormant long before the start of the fire season.

Platanthera cooperi is considered vulnerable across its limited range. Fire suppression and increased urbanization are the greatest threats to this orchid, although many of the remaining populations are protected within parks and reserves or grow on federal land.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Ecosystem Type

Grassland, ridges or ledges, shrublands or thickets, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
green to brown
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum has a spur
Labellum length:
1.6–4 mm
Sepal length:
2.3–4 mm
Plant height:
14–90 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Vulnerable
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data