Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

Photo by Bob Gress
used by permission

 

Common Name: Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

Scientific Name: Plantanthera praeclara

Federal Status:
Threatened

State Status:
None

 

 

 

 

Range:

Dark Green = Current county records
Light Green = Historical records

Comments: The “fringe” in the name, Western prairie fringed orchid, refers to the margins of the flower petals that have a feathery appearance. It is a perennial plant that can go dormant during periods of drought. Its multiple white blooms on a single flower stalk appear in June or early July. The existence of this plant may be tied closely to its nocturnal pollinator, the long-tongued hawkmoth, which is highly attracted to the scent of the flowers. The western prairie fringed orchid is found in moist prairie or sedge meadow habitats. The loss of native tallgrass prairie to farmland, development, fire suppression, overgrazing and habitat fragmentation have made this a rare plant. It is found in six states at approximately 75 sites. In Kansas, it is found at four sites in four counties.