Platanthera leucophaea (Nutt.) Lindl.

Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonym: Blephariglottis leucophaea

Platanthera leucophaea, commonly called Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, is primarily distributed in the mid-western United States and Canada, from Oklahoma to Ontario, with a limited distribution in the northern mid-Atlantic and New England regions. It produces multiple long, narrow stem leaves and has an inflorescence of up to 40 white (or slightly pale green) flowers. The labellum is deeply three-lobed and fringed; the lateral petals are curved slightly over the column and their edges are toothed. A slender, clavate spur extends out from the back of the flower. It can be distinguished from P. lacera by its toothed, instead of entire, lateral petals and by its longer spur. It can be found in moist prairies and meadows, bogs, marshes and fens.

Platanthera leucophaea is considered globally imperiled and is listed as federally threatened and is rare or presumed extirpated throughout most of its range.


Pollinating hawkmoths such as Eumorpha achemon, Eumorpha pandorus and Lintneria eremitus receive pollen on their proboscises as they drink nectar from the flower’s long nectar spur.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, fens, marshes, meadows


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • one
  • two
  • three
  • four
  • five
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is fringed
Main color of labellum:
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum has a spur
  • the labellum is fringed
  • the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
14–22 mm
Sepal length:
7–13 mm
Plant height:
30–120 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 Imperiled
US Status Listed Threatened
Canadian Status May Be At Risk

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data