ghost orchid

Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)

Part of the Florida's Native and Naturalized Orchids Website

Classification:
  Kingdom:   Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom:   Tracheobionta - Vascular Plants
      Superdivision:   Spermatophyta - Seed plants
        Division:   Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
          Class:   Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
            Subclass:   Liliidae - Subclass containing lily and orchid relatives
              Order:   Orchidales - Orchid order
                Family:   Orchidaceae - Orchid Family
                  Subfamily:   Orchidiodeae -
                    Tribe:   Orchideae - Orchidoids.
                      Subtribe:   Orchidinae - Orchis and related.


Distribution Map:
Distribution map for Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Description:
Synonyms: Orchis cristata Michx., Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 156 (1803).; Habenaria cristata (Michx.) R.Br. in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew. 5: 194 (1813).; Blephariglottis cristata (Michx.) Raf., Fl. Tellur. 2: 39 (1837).

Summary: Medium-sized terrestrial herb with erect flower stems to 18 inches (45.7) tall with flower heads up to 4 inches (10 cm) in height. Flowers small, 1.5 cm tall with elongated spurs and deeply fringed lips, ranging in color from yellow to deep orange. The column forms a beak or hook over the lip, which is diagnostic for this species and its putative hybrid, P. chapmanii.

Common Name: Crested Fringed Orchid

Habitat: Moist, open pinelands, wet prairies, wet roadsides and ditches.

Flowering season: July through August (peaking in August)

Images:
 
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata) Large Spike
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata) Large Spike
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata) - Flower Close-up
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata) - Flower Close-up
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)
Hybrid Fringed Orchid (Platanthera x channellii)

Description:
 

The crested fringed orchid, Platanthera cristata, tends to precede its larger cousins, P. ciliaris and P. blephariglottis by a few weeks, with its final flowers fading around the same time that the first flowers are opening on its larger kin. The plant dimensions and flower size are roughly half that of P. ciliaris, which it resembles somewhat. This is also about the same size as P. integra, P. nivea.

One key difference between this species and P. ciliaris is that the column forms a downward hook or beak over the lip. The lip itself forms a much more acute angle with the column and dorsal hood compared to P. ciliaris. P. chapmanii is intermediate in size and features between these two species and is proposed to be a hybrid or intergrade between them. However, there are locations where one or both parents are absent, and yet stable popuplations of P. chapmanii seem to persist. Purported hybrids between P. cristata and P. blephariglottis are also found in areas where the two species can intermingle--these plants are designated Platanthera x canbyi.

This species is uncommon in the state but is also more easily overlooked due to its small stature.

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