Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow Fringed Orchid Home - Plant Profiles & Photos

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Older scientific names for Platanthera ciliaris include:  Blephariglottis ciliaris, Habenaria ciliaris.
Other common names include: Fringed Orange Bog Orchid, Orange Fringed Orchid.

This plant is on the The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program "List of Endangered Plant Species and Plant Species of Concern". For more information click "More info" button above or scroll down to the bottom.

Platanthera ciliaris, yellow fringed orchid, is a native herbaceous perennial plant that grows in the bogs, moist meadows, and swamps of the pinebarrens. It blooms in July, August.


The yellow to orange flowers grow in a dense cluster that forms a spike (flowers are sessile) on a upright stalk. Each flower has three sepals that are rounded and have smooth margins. It has 3 petals. The 2 lateral petals are slightly fringed. The distinctive third petal, lip/labellum, is highly fringed. A spur is connected to the back of the lip that contains nectar.

The first photo in this section shows a flower cluster where the the relative lengths of the spurs and the bracts can be seen. The spur is as long or longer than the ovary (distance from the flower head to the stem) . The spur is about an inch (~25mm) long. The green bracts are short and narrow.

The second photo shows the flower front view with the lip. The photo below shows the side view where you can see the relative length of the spur easily.

In the closeup of the yellow flower, you can see the mouth of the spur at the base of the lip. In order to obtain the nectar, the insect brushes up against the anthers and stigma above it as part of the pollination process.

This plant is very similiar to P. cristata which is much smaller. A distinguishing difference is the length of the spur. P. ciliaris has a much longer spur.

Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid - Flower cluster, infloresence

Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid -  flower closeup: lip labellum, 3 sepals, 3 petals
Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid -  flower closeup: spur
Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid -  flower closeup: spur opening, anther pouches

In the photo above, the large protruding structure above the lip is a split anther with 2 pouches each with pollinia attached to the tip end.

Orchids have different reproductive structures than most plants.

There is a stigmatic surface near the base of the two anther pouches that can't easily be seen in the photo

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Plant and leaves

Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid: narrow grass-like basal leaves The plant is a single stalk with the flowers on top and 2-4 leaves along the stalk. The plant can be as tall as 2.5 feet. The photo shows a stalk with three alternating sessile lanceolate leaves that sheath the stalk. The leaves decrease in size up the stalk and become bracts in the flower cluster.

  Orchids are monocots and have leaves with parallel venation as shown in the closeup below. Platanthera ciliaris - Yellow / Orange Fringed Orchid : parallel venation in leaves

All photos by H & M Ling, 7/22/2017, private property, pinebarens. The plants were growing wild but some effort was made to keep the deer from eating them.

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Additional information

Additional information / references:

The USDA website shows P. ciliaris is present in many states but it is threatened/endangered in many.:

New Jersey Heritage Natural Heritage Program, in its endangered plant species list, gives P. ciliaris - these classifications: G5, S2, LP, HL
G5=Demonstrably secure globally; although it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
S2=Imperiled in New Jersey because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences/sites)
LP=Indicates taxa listed by the Pinelands Commission as endangered or threatened within their legal jurisdiction,
HL=Indicates taxa or ecological communities protected by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act within the jurisdiction of the Highlands Preservation Area
NJ Heritage Natural Heritage Program overview:
NJ Heritage Natural Heritage Program list of endangered plants:
NJ Heritage Natural Heritage Program status codes:

Online References 

Flora of North America:

Florida's Native and Naturalized Orchids: Short description of reproductive structures :

Go Botany:

Go Orchids:


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