Piperia maritima
Rydberg [Habenaria maritima] Greene
Coast Piperia

Location British Columbia
Specific Habitat

Only along the rugged Pacific coast, on margins of land exposed to frequent winds, fog, and blanketed by dwarfed, tundra-like vegetation. Grows in thick, spongy, bog-like layer of humus that stretches from the edge of cliffs to inland rocky forested slopes.

Flowering Season

July through September.


Height: to 35 cm., plant glabrous, stout.
Leaves: 3-5, basal, oblong-elliptic. Short, thick stem is almost fully sheathed by overlapping bracts. The leaves appear very early in the spring, and are desiccated by the dry summer, disappearing before the flower spike emerges from the ground.
Flowers: a robust, tightly packed cone of blooms, white, petals prominently striped with a central deep green band. The flowers are the largest of the genus; floral parts are longer but similar to those of P. elegans. The lip is ovate, obtuse, fleshy with a central ridge, constricted above the base which is dilated into rounded lobes. The long, slender spur is not easily seen because of the tightly packed flowers on the raceme.


May be found near an occasional Spiranthes romanzoffiana which occupies similar habitat. P. elegans can be found growing on nearby wooded hillsides.


The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.