Sheviak & M.L.Bowles
Historically, Platanthera praeclara was found in tallgrass prairies west of the Mississippi River. It occurred from extreme southern Canada south to northeast Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, historical records (1975) exist for Craig and Rogers Counties.
Platanthera praeclara arises from a fleshy tuber. It grows from 1.25 to 3 feet tall (38–85 cm). Each plant can have up to two dozen or more flowers arranged in a stalk. P. praeclara is distinguished from Platanthera leucophaea, the eastern prairie fringed orchid, by its slightly larger flowers, petal shape, and longer nectar spur.
Platanthera praeclara is a long-lived perennial. It emerges in May and blooms in June or in July further north. The flowers are fragrant at night and are pollinated by large sphinx moths. P. praeclara is a plant of the tallgrass prairie and requires direct sunlight for growth. It is most often found in moist habitats or sedge meadows. P. praeclara has persisted in areas that have been lightly grazed, periodically burned, or regularly mowed. It is not yet understood how these activities affect plant survival. It may be that removal of dead grass mulch is beneficial, but heavy grazing is detrimental.
The major factor contributing to the decline of P. praeclara has been the conversion of native prairie to croplands. Fire suppression, overgrazing, and habitat fragmentation also have contributed to the decline of the species.
- Flora of North America v 26 p 566, Platanthera praeclara
- Biota of North America Program county distribution map
- Goedeke, T., et al. 2008. Platanthera praeclara. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Downloaded on 20 July 2013.
- Media related to Platanthera praeclara at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Platanthera praeclara at Wikispecies
- USDA Plants Profile: Platanthera praeclara (Western Prairie Fringed Orchid)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara)
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