This orchid used to be much more common in New York with 40-50 historical occurrences. Development around New York City and Long Island drastically reduced numbers to the three small populations we know today.
There are only three existing populations, none with more than 30 plants and none are protected. There were 40-50 historical occurrences but the majority of these have been extirpated by development.
Historically, there were 40-50 populations known mostly in southeastern New York but these have been reduced to 3 small populations on Long Island.
Plants along roadsides are threatened by improper mowing regimes and development, while more isolated populations are threatened by collection.
This species needs disturbance to reduce competition from woody plants or more aggressive herbaceous plants, but too much direct disturbance to the plants will reduce or eliminate the population. Its habitat could be disturbed in the non-growing season to open it up for seed germination and colonization, but direct disturbance, especially from mowing, should be prevented during the growing season.
Research is currently needed to find out if the current populations can be recovered to more robust numbers.
In New York State Platanthera ciliaris has been collected from a fairly wide diversity of habitats, including pine barrens, mowed roadsides, red maple swamps, and wet meadows. Acidic and at least seasonally wet soils seem to be a common element (New York Natural Heritage Program 2010). Moist sandy and peaty meadows, marshes, prairies, pine savannas, open woods, wet wooded flats, seeping slopes, roadsides, dry wooded slopes, sphagnum bogs (FNA 2002). Bogs, peaty or sandy woods or thickets or dryish swales and slopes (Fernald 1970).
This orchid ranged from the Rochester and Syracuse-Rome areas east to Eastern New York, Long Island and the New York City area, but its range has been greatly reduced. It is now considered extirpated in the New York City area and may be gone north of Long Island.
This is an orchid of the Southeastern US, most common from the Virginias southeast to Arkansas and Texas and south to Florida. It is scattered and rare from Eastern Oklahoma and Missouri northeast to the Midwest, east to Maryland and north to New York and New England.
Orange Fringed Orchids have a central stalk from 24 up to 100 centimeters tall, with two to four alternate, spreading to ascending, lanceolate leaves, abruptly reduced to bracts above. The many showy, orange flowers are borne in a dense spike, the lower end maturing first. The lip is 8 to 19 millimeters long, and has a ragged lower edge with many long, delicate fringes. The spur is slender and long, from 20 to 35 millimeters long, nearly equalling or exceeding the ovary, and pointed backwards (FNA 2002).
Flowering specimens are best for identification, as flower color most easily distinguishes this species from Platanthera blephariglottis.
Platanthera cristata's flower has a spur only 5-9 mm long, and is smaller throughout than Platanthera ciliaris. Platanthera blephariglottis has white flowers.
Orange-fringed Orchid flowers from mid-July through September, and the fruits may persist through December where there is no snow.
The time of year you would expect to find Orange Fringed Orchid flowering and fruiting in New York.
Orange Fringed Orchid
Platanthera ciliaris (L.) Lindl.
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Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.
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New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Newcomb, Lawrence. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
Information for this guide was last updated on: August 28, 2019
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. Online Conservation Guide for Platanthera ciliaris. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/orange-fringed-orchid/. Accessed September 21, 2020.