Hawai'i Bog Orchid / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Hawai'i Bog Orchid (Platanthera holochila)

View of a fruiting plant. Note the ellipsoid capsules. Photo Credit: Susan Harbin
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 158488
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Categories of Interest: Orchids
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/05/1993

Platanthera holochila is one of only three species of orchids endemic to Hawai`i. It is an erect herb whose long stems arise from underground tubers. Its pale green leaves are egg-shaped and greenish-yellow flowers occur on open spikes. Historically, it was known from the Alakai Swamp and Kaholuamano area and the Waihiawa Mountains on Kaua`i, the Ko`olau Mountains on O`ahu, scattered locations on Moloka`i, and various locations on Mau`i. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki devastated the Kauai populations and today, only 1 remaining individual survives in the Alakai Swamp. Platanthera holochila is facing rapid decline and is currently known from only 5 locations on Kaua`i, Moloka`i and Mau`i and presumed extinct on O`ahu.

Where is Hawai'i Bog Orchid (Platanthera holochila) located in the wild?


Growing on open or shaded sites on bog hummocks and in wet forest surrounding bogs, sometimes in wet forest not near bogs, and rarely in mesic forest and subalpine shrubland, 600 to 1,830 m. (Wagner et. al 1999; USFWS 1998)


Alakai Swamp, Kaua`iExtinct on O`ahuKamakou Preserve, Moloka`iHanaula, Waikamoi and Kapunakea Preserves, Mau`i(USFWS 1998)

States & Provinces:

Hawai'i Bog Orchid can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve Hawai'i Bog Orchid (Platanthera holochila)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

  • 09/23/2020
  • Propagation Research

Micropropagation (Harold L. Lyon Arboretum) (Recovery Plan 1998) and (Nellie Sugii Pers. Comm. 2001)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Hawaiian islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Maui. This species is very rare, even though there is much available habitat for it. It is currently known from 5-6 occurrences with a total of fewer than 46 plants. Some of the occurrences are in rather pristine undisturbed areas. Others are threatened by feral pigs and alien plants.

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat degradation Ungulate and domestic animals Alien plants Overcollection Stochastic events Reduced reproductive vigor due to small population size Invertebrates (Recovery Plan 1998) and (USFWS 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

3 sites (Mau`i, Moloka`i, Kaua`i) 5 populations (3 Mau`i, 1 Moloka`i, 1 Kaua`i) less than 40 individuals (15-20 Mau`i, 20 Moloka`i, 1 Kaua`i) (USFWS 1998, 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Micropropagation (Harold L. Lyon Arboretum) (Recovery Plan 1998) and (Nellie Sugii Pers. Comm. 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Fencing (Dept. of Forestry and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy) Monitoring has been done by National Tropical Botanical Garden and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 1998) In April, 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a designation of critical habitat was prudent for this species. (USFWS 2002)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Exclosures around unfenced populations Removal of ungulates Alien plant species removal Invertebrate control Reintroduction (USFWS 1998)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Propagation Genetic studies Plant biological and physiological studies Seed banking (USFWS1998)


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Taxon Platanthera holochila
Authority (Hillebr.) Kraenzl.
Family Orchidaceae
CPC Number 3517
ITIS 196422
Duration Perennial
Common Names fringed orchid | Hawai'i bog orchid
Associated Scientific Names Habenaria holochila | Platanthera holochila | Peristylus holochila
Distribution Alakai Swamp, Kaua`iExtinct on O`ahuKamakou Preserve, Moloka`iHanaula, Waikamoi and Kapunakea Preserves, Mau`i(USFWS 1998)
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1
Ecological Relationships


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