Platanthera pallida P. M. Brown

Pale Fringed Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Blephariglottis pallida

Platanthera pallida, the Pale Fringed Orchid, is endemic to Long Island, New York, restricted to dry, dune slopes. This orchid grows among pitch pine scrub and has 2-3 large lower leaves and upper leaves that are reduced to 3-5 linear bracts. The cream colored flower with a recurved, fringed lip and short nectar spur may distinguish this orchid from Platanthera cristata, a similar species that prefers a wetter habitat.

Although Platanthera pallida is presented here as a unique species, discussions continue among botanists about whether this distinction is warranted. The New York Natural Heritage Program, among others, identifies these orchids as Platanthera cristata- exhibiting characteristics found within the normal range for this species. Further research into the biology of Platanthera pallida, including its pollination mechanism and mycorrhizal fungi, and the application of molecular tools, may shed light on these discussions.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Ecosystem Type

Dunes, shrublands or thickets, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
  • alternate
  • stem
Number of leaves on stem:
  • two
  • three
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Main color of labellum:
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum has a spur
  • the labellum is fringed
Labellum length:
Up to 3 mm
Sepal length:
Up to 3 mm
Plant height:
29–65 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 N/A
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data