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Platanthera ciliaris

Previously known as:

  • Blephariglotis ciliaris
  • Habenaria ciliaris
Phonetic Spelling
pla-TAN-ther-uh sil-ee-AIR-iss
Description

Orange fringe orchid is a native perennial plant in the Orchidaceae (orchid) family that is native to the eastern and southern portions of Canada and the US.  Its native habitat ranges from peaty or wet areas, dry uplands, meadows, sandy woods and thickets, slopes, and roadsides.  The common name fringe orchid comes from the hairy looking lower petal on its dainty bright orange flowers.

Orange fringe orchid grows quickly in small colonies by spreading out stolons that bud new plants.  Reaching a mature height of 1 to 3 feet, it prefers acidic soils that are boggy and wet though it tolerates drier conditions as long as adequate moisture is present during flowering.  Mulch with pine straw in the winter to protect the roots and help acidify the soil.    This plant can be challenging to propagate by seed so divide roots in the fall.  

The flowers have a long nectar spur in the back that attracts pollinators like butterflies and moths.  Due to threats including succession, plant collection, roadside mowing, and changes in hydrology, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the northern edges of the native range. 

Plant in a native meadow, bog, or pollinator garden.  They work well mass planted in drifts along slope, or in a container and the flowers make excellent cut bouquets.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  The flower stalk may need staking.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#orange flowers#low maintenance#swallowtail butterflies#fast growing#NC native#native garden#dainty#disturbed areas#cutting garden#wildflower garden#marshes#flowers late summer#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#roadside#Audubon#meadows#container plant#wet soils intolerant#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#orange flowers#low maintenance#swallowtail butterflies#fast growing#NC native#native garden#dainty#disturbed areas#cutting garden#wildflower garden#marshes#flowers late summer#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#roadside#Audubon#meadows#container plant#wet soils intolerant#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Platanthera
    Species:
    ciliaris
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and Southern USA
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies and moths pollinate the flowers.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds are tiny and can be difficult to germinate.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    A terminal raceme 6 inches tall of 35 to 75 orange to yellow flowers on 1 to 2 foot tall stem. The individual flowers are about 1 in., three rounded sepals, two somewhat fringed upper petals, and the lower lip of the flower is deeply fringed. A long slender spur that curves downward from the base, exceeding the lip. Flowers appear from July to September opening from the bottom of the spike to the top and last for about a month.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Bright green to blue-green simple, alternate, entire margins, lower leaves are lance-shaped, up to 12 in. long and 1 1/2 in. wide with a pointed tip; leaves clasp the stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems have ridges
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil