Monday, July 20, 2015

Nineteenth Orchid of the Season

The green-flowered Platantheras are not always easy to identify, but these are classic examples of the Northern Green Bog Orchis, Platanthera aquilonis.  The species is identifiable especially by its short, triangular lip, yellowish in color, and its tubular spur, shorter than the lip and curved forward.  These were photographed along the Richardson Highway to Valdez, Alaska, where they were growing with Platanthera huronensis, the Green Bog Orchis and Cypripedium passerinum, the Sparrow's-egg Lady's Slipper.  The two Platanteras were easily distinguishable even from a distance in that this species was much shorter than the other, only 6-8 inches tall (7-8 cm) and a darker green, while the other was around 18-24 inches (24-30 cm) tall and whitish-green.

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