A Pair of Prairie Platanthera

Platanthera lacera (green fringed-orchid) – a sole individual found in Franklin County, MO.

Today I’m showing a couple of orchids from the Platanthera genus. The title of this post suggests these are both prairie obligates, however this is not true with the first species shown here – P. lacera, the green fringed-orchid. Placera most likely appears in more different habitat types than any other orchid in the state. You can find this orchid in places ranging from dry hay fields to fens to forest habitats. The sole individual I was able to find this year was on a reconstructed prairie in Franklin County, MO. Unfortunately, this plant was several days past peak bloom so, I’ll be looking for others in the coming seasons.

Platanthera praeclara (western prairie fringed orchid)

Sarah and I had quite a treat when we made a long day trip to north-western MO in mid-June of this year. We were able to find a few western prairie fringed-orchids just past peak bloom. This was a first for both of us. Platanthera praeclara is a globally endangered species and listed as an S1 species (critically imperiled) by the state of Missouri. This is just another of the many species in such a status due to the unregulated destruction of prairie habitat in the midwest for crop cultivation over the past 200 years. The large white flowers of this species are pollinated by nocturnal sphinx moths – a potential photography project in years to come.

A closeup of a single Platanthera praeclara flower.


One thought on “A Pair of Prairie Platanthera

  1. Hey Bill, I’ve been trying to respond to your message on FB you had sent me a couple of years ago, but I keep getting “An error occurred while processing this request. If you think that this doesn’t go against our Community Standards, let us know.” I think they are punishing me for deactivating my FB for several years.

    Anyways, yeah, I took a hiatus from photography that lasted a bit longer than expected. Finally getting some new work done; I figure people need happy nature photos in their social media feeds now more than ever.

    Hope all is well with you. I was telling a coworker about Fountain Bluff a few weeks back, and when I went to search for photos, your blog post was the first thing that came up.

    Oh, and if you are interested in seeing more southern IL photos, there is an excellent FB group called “The Shawnee National Forest” which has about 50k members, and a small army of photographers exploring places that I never knew existed. I just started sharing my older work there, but I have some stiff competition these days.

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