|Western prairie fringed orchid, Western white-fringed orchid|
|(Sheviak & Bowles) Cronquist|
The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
CPC National Office
The conservation of Platanthera praeclara is fully sponsored.
Jim Locklear contributed to this Plant Profile.
The fate of the western prairie fringed orchid is tied to that of the tallgrass prairie. This elegant wildflower, with its clusters of showy white flowers, was once found in grassy swales and meadows from Manitoba south into Oklahoma. Now, with the tallgrass prairie reduced to less than two-percent of its formerly vast range, this beautiful and unique grassland orchid is threatened with extinction.
Distribution & Occurrence
- North Dakota
Occurs in mesic upland tallgrass prairie in the southern part of its range, often in swales, and wet-mesic tallgrass prairie and sedge meadows in the northern part of its range. Also known from prairies and swales in sand dune complexes that are fed by shallow underground water.
|175 known occurrences (USFWS 1996). Largest populations, some with as many as 1,000+ individuals, are found in the northern part of its range in MN and ND. Most populations in KS, MO and OK have fewer than 50 individuals.|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Closely related to the eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), which generally occurs east of the Mississippi River and has somewhat smaller flowers (Sheviak and Bowles 1986).
Fire suppression and woody plant encroachment.
Invasion by noxious weeds.
Herbicides and insecticides.
Intensive cattle grazing and trampling.
Protect and manage existing populations.
Long term germplasm storage studies.
Establish seed bank.
Smith, Welby R. 1993. Orchids of Minnesota. Minn. Dept. of Natural Resources. 137p.