Yellow Fringed Orchid

Platanthara ciliaris

Yellow Fringed Orchid
Yellow Fringed Orchid
Yellow Fringed Orchid buds
Yellow Fringed Orchid buds
Yellow Fringed Orchid
Yellow Fringed Orchid: entire plant

This magnificent, bright yellow-orange orchid is blooming now, at the end of July/early August, in Jefferson National Forest. It can be found in either dry or wet places, in open woods.

As you can see from the photo, the insect-like flowers are borne in a dense cluster at the top of a stalk that can reach up to 3 feet in height. Each individual flower is about a half-inch wide and 1.5 inches long. Despite the name, they appear more orange than yellow.

There are two notable features of this orchid: the lower lip petal is elegantly adorned with shaggy, long fringes, and a very long spur protrudes from the back of the flower.  See the photos below for a closer view.

The leaves of the yellow fringed orchid are alternate, lanceolate, and entire, growing up to four inches in length. The plants do not bloom every year, so there are times when only the leaves are present. Enjoy it when you see it in bloom in July and August. This orchid is anything but common.

One thought on “Yellow Fringed Orchid

  1. I found a patch of these in the Southern part of Highland County last summer – up to that point, no one had reported finding them in the county. There are plenty of places further South, in Bath County, VA. It was quite a thrill to find them, they are quite striking.

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