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Platanthera huronensis - Green Bog Orchid

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Green Bog Orchid

Above: A massive Green Bog Orchid plant growing on the roadside in early July in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Green Bog Orchid is widespread throughout the Rocky Mountains area of North America, but unlike other Platanthera species which grow in damp, riverside meadows at lower elevations, this species can be found at very high altitudes - up to around 12,000 feet.

Closeup of flowers of Green Bog Orchid - Platanthera huronensis

In late June and early July this orchid flowers in vast numbers. It often occurs in the open on rocky slopes and on roadside verges. Although plants in more sheltered areas are smaller, the ones growing in the open can be up to 70 cm in height.

The plant is very robust and is easily identified from other Platanthera species in the region by its size and overall green colouring - even the flowers are an unrelenting green. The stems are very densely packed with flowers, and up to 75 individual flowers can occur on a single plant.

Large group of Green Bog Orchid - Platanthera huronensis

Platanthera huronensis, Rocky Mountain National Park

The specimens shown on this page where photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park in early July very close to the Alpine Ridge Visitor Centre, which is about 13,000 feet above sea level.

Etymology

The genus name Platanthera comes from Greek and means 'broad or wide anther', referring to the wide separation of the bases of the two pollinia in the Lesser Butterfly Orchid, which is the type species of the genus. (Not all Platanthera species display this charcter, however.) The specific epithet huronensis means 'of Lake Huron'..


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