Piperia unalascensis
(Sprengel) Rydberg
[Piperia cooperi] (S. Watson) Rydberg
Alaska Orchid
Slender-spire Orchid

Location Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia.
Specific Habitat

From cool moist regions of the Pacific Northwest to the semiarid regions of Baja California, and sporadically as far east as Anticost Island in the St. Lawrence. Habitats vary from shady forests to open meadows or dry rocky hillsides.
In Ontario, it may be quite frequent in dry dolomitic woodlands of cedar, balsam fir, poplar, and white birch.

Flowering Season

April to August. In Ontario, late June to mid- July.


Height: to 70 cm., plant slender, glabrous.
Leaves: 2-4, basal, narrow, elliptical, in early spring. Central stalk rises rapidly, and leaves begin to fade as the minute flowers open.
Inflorescence very narrow, with numerous small flowers, yellowish to greenish, distantly spaced but more crowded towards the apex. The flowers do not completely rotate, thus appearing a little tipped. ; lateral sepals are adherent to the base of the lip; lip is ovate-elliptic, blunt, fleshy with a central thickening. The spurs are short, blunt, sometimes clavellate, slightly shorter or longer than the lip.


In Ontario this orchid is uncommon to rare, and occurs only in Bruce County and on Manitoulin Island and associated islands, including St. Joseph Island.


Orchids of Ontario
The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey


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