Platanthera praeclara Sheviak & M.L. Bowles

Great Plains White Fringed Orchid, Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Blephariglottis praeclara, Fimbriella praeclara, Habenaria leucophaea var. praeclara

Platanthera praeclara, the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, is distributed in the midwest United States and Canada, from Oklahoma to Manitoba. It produces 2-5 basal and lower stem leaves, which are present at the time of flowering. The inflorescence has 10-24 creamy white colored flowers with petals that form a hood over the column. The labellum is deeply fringed, with three distinct lobes and a long thin nectar spur. The flowers of this orchid are about 25-30% larger than those of P. leucophaea. It can be found in open wet prairies, plains, and fens.

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


This orchid is pollinated by a variety of moths such as Eumorpha achemon, Hyles euphorbiae, Hyles gallii, Hyles lineata, Paratrea plebeja, Sphinx drupiferarum and Sphinx kalmiae. The moth probes the nectar spur with its proboscis. While drinking nectar, pollinia are placed on the compound eyes of the moth then transferred to a subsequent flower it visits.

Ecosystem Type

Fens, prairie


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • two
  • three
  • four
  • five
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
  • the labellum is fringed
  • the labellum is lobed
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:
20–39 mm
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 Endangered

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data