Orchids of Late Summer

yel-fr orchid

Meet yellow fringed – also called orange fringed – orchid, one of the beauties of this time of year! It’s neither yellow nor orange in color, but I suppose these names will have to suffice –the more accurate “cantaloupe fringed” would probably just lead to confusion.  The flower is intricate: notice the delicate fringes edging each flower’s lip and the long, long spur that hangs way down in back.

This plant is not uncommon on the plateau. I look for it on pond edges and in other low, moist spots. But it’s more of a generalist than that, acid soil and sunshine seemingly its main requirements. And where you see one, you will probably see many. Yellow fringed orchid, Platanthera ciliaris, is pollinated by big, showy butterflies, particularly swallowtails. Enjoy this one in its habitat. Although it’s fairly common in the Southeast, over-collecting has contributed to its being listed as threatened farther north.

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