Platanthera ciliaris in flower Beth Yanuck-Platt

Platanthera ciliaris in flower
Beth Yanuck-Platt

Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
State Protection
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


Did you know?

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.

State Ranking Justification

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.

Long-term Trends

Historically, there were 40-50 populations known mostly in southeastern New York but these have been reduced to 3 small populations on Long Island.

Conservation and Management


Plants along roadsides are threatened by improper mowing regimes and development, while more isolated populations are threatened by collection.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

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 Needs

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).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Dwarf shrub bog* (guide)
  • Highbush blueberry bog thicket* (guide)
  • Mowed roadside/pathway
  • Patterned peatland* (guide)
  • Pine barrens shrub swamp* (guide)
  • Pitch pine-blueberry peat swamp* (guide)
  • Pitch pine-heath barrens* (guide)
  • Red maple-blackgum swamp (guide)
  • Successional blueberry heath*

Associated Species

  • Acer rubrum
  • Andropogon virginicus
  • Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweet-pepperbush)
  • Eupatorium sessilifolium (upland thoroughwort)
  • Euthamia graminifolia (common flat-topped-goldenrod)
  • Ilex glabra (inkberry)
  • Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (black-gum, sour-gum)
  • Osmunda cinnamomea
  • Photinia
  • Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
  • Pycnanthemum muticum (short-toothed mountain-mint)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
  • Rhynchospora capitellata (brownish beak sedge)
  • Solidago rugosa
  • Trientalis borealis


New York State Distribution

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.

Global Distribution

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.

Best Places to See

  • Sensitive species. No locations given.

Identification Comments

General Description

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).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Flowering specimens are best for identification, as flower color most easily distinguishes this species from Platanthera blephariglottis.

Similar Species

Platanthera cristata's flower has a spur only 5-9 mm long, and is smaller throughout than Platanthera ciliaris. Platanthera blephariglottis has white flowers.

Best Time to See

Orange-fringed Orchid flowers from mid-July through September, and the fruits may persist through December where there is no snow.

  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Orange Fringed Orchid flowering and fruiting in New York.

Orange Fringed Orchid Images

Images of Similar Species


Orange Fringed Orchid
Platanthera ciliaris (L.) Lindl.

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Monocotyledoneae (Monocots)
        • Order Orchidales
          • Family Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Orange Orchid
  • Yellow Fringed Orchid
  • Orange Fringed Orchis


  • Habenaria ciliaris (L.) R. Br.
  • Blephariglottis ciliaris (L.) Rydb. ex Britt.

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford University Press, New York. 723 pp.

Other References

Clemants, Steven and Carol Gracie. 2006. Wildflowers in the Field and Forest. A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 445 pp.

Crow, Garrett E. and C. Barre Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and wetland plants of northeastern North America: A revised and enlarged edition or Norman C. Fassett's a manual of aquatic plants. Volume two angiosperms: Monocotyledons. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, Wisconsin. 456 pp.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. 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 University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: April 11, 2011

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Platanthera ciliaris. Available from: Accessed March 20, 2019.

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