Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
Volume 6 Issue 3   October 2004
ISSN 1499-5476

photo of Platanthera ciliaris Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 231-1160 or e-mail

Members' Night:
Friday, October 29, 2004

Orchid of the Month:
Yellow Fringed Orchid (Platanthera ciliaris)


President's Report - By Doris Ames

This summer was an especially busy and eventful one for NOCI.  Our effort to sell lottery tickets for Ft.Whyte went well and we raised $225.00 to go towards public education and display.  My sincere thanks to all of you who bought and sold tickets.

Bob Joyce tells me that 47 people attended our field trips this year.  This is down considerably from last year but I guess that may be partially due to the rainy and cold summer.

We carried on with survey trips to find species at risk and this year went farther afield.  Richard Reeves, Eugene Reimer, John Neufeld, Chris Neufeld, Huguette Calvez and myself joined Lorne Heshka and several other members of the Manitoba Orchid Society, on a field trip to Churchill, July 13-22.  We drove to Thompson and took the train from there to Churchill.  We found many species of rare plants including native orchids.  It was a very productive and enjoyable trip.  We took many lovely photographs of the plants, animals and spectacular scenery up north and perhaps later on we can use them to develop a PowerPoint presentation for your enjoyment.

Peggy Bainard Acheson and I attended a Native Orchid Conference Annual General Meeting in Conway, South Carolina, August 6-11, where we met many prominent people in the orchid world.  We attended lectures and went on two extremely interesting field trips to see some of the southern native orchids.  We will be making a PowerPoint presentation showing some of our photographs on our upcoming Members' Night.

I hope to see all of you at our Members' Night on October 29th.

Announcing NOCI's 4th Annual Members' Night - Friday, October 29th, 2004

Orchid of the Month

Yellow Fringed Orchid
Platanthera ciliaris (Linnaeus) Lindley

By Doris Ames

Origin of the Name: The species name comes from the Latin word "ciliaris" meaning "eyelashes", referring to the finely fringed lip.

Status: Threatened or endangered in a number of eastern states but not in the Carolinas.

Habitat: Pine savannas, meadows, bogs, and thickets by streams and roadsides, throughout the eastern United States.  It grows in full sun or partial shade.

Description: Plants range from 24-100cm in height.  The 2-4 shiny, green, leaves, sheath the stem lower down, and turn into bracts higher up.  The flower cluster is loose to dense with many, yellow through apricot to deep orange, flowers.  The flowers appear narrow because the lateral sepals are bent back and the tapered lip is 10mm long and heavily fringed.  The nectar spur is slender and long (20-35mm), especially on the southern coastal plain.

Aids to Identification: This orchid is so striking it could only be confused with another fringed orchid in its range, Yellow Crested Orchid (Platanthera cristata).  The Yellow Fringed Orchid is taller, has larger flowers and much longer spurs than the Yellow Crested Orchid.

Comments: Peggy and I saw this lovely orchid in South Carolina.  It is not now found in Canada.  At one time it was found near Leamington and Windsor, in Ontario, and herbarium specimens date back to 1914.  However it is now believed to be extirpated in Ontario.  In 1995, Allan B. Anderson from the University of Guelph attempted to re-introduce the plant near Windsor, using artificially propagated seedlings.  It is not yet known if this attempt at re-introduction was a success.