Monday, November 10, 2014

Platanthera natual hybrid (?)

While looking for and photographing different Platanthera/Piperia species, I found this oddity which appears to be a natural hybrid between Platanthera transversa, the Flat-spurred Piperia, and Platanthera elegans, the Elegant Piperia, or instead of the latter species, Platanthera elongata, the Long-spurred Piperia.  If it is not a natural hybrid the only other possibility is that it is an odd, short-spurred form of Platanthera transversa.  All three of these species grow in the location I was visiting, though Platanthera elegans only on the other side of the hill where this was found.  The flowers are colored like the flowers of Platanthera transversa, but the spur is not the long, horizontal spur of that species.  The spur looks like that of Platanthera elegans or Platanthera elongata, both of which curve downward, but it is much shorter than the spur of Platanthera elongata.  The plant was growing with other plants of Platanthera transversa.  I've included photos of the three species found in the area for comparison.

July 25
(Whidbey Island)

Piperia transversa

Piperia elegans

Piperia elongata


  1. It is always complex to put a name to the parents of some hybrids. Anyway, the result is very beautiful. Thank you for the information. Hugs

    1. Thanks, Angel. Appreciate the comments. I'd have to send the photos or a specimen to an expert, I guess, to get another opinion.