Platanthera aquilonis
[Platanthera hyperborea] (Linnaeus) Lindley
[Habenaria hyperborea>/I>] (L.) R. Br.
Tall Northern Green Orchid, Northern Green Orchid, Leafy Green Orchid

Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories.
Specific Habitat

Found in a wide variety of areas. Plants growing in open situations are more vigorous with more erect leaves than plants growing in shady areas.
Thrives in somewhat shaded, moist to wet places (swamps, seeps, stream and pond edges), and moist woods.. Grows in both mineral and organic soils over a variety of bedrock types. Prefers areas of calcareous bedrock in the Ottawa Region of Ontario. It does not grow in bogs.

Flowering Season Late May to early July , mid June to mid August further north.

Height to 80 cm. Habit variable.
Leaves several, ascending, gradually reduced to bracts above.
Spike short or long, lax or dense, few to many-flowered.
Flower is green to yellowish-green, dorsal sepal forms a hood with the lateral sepals, lip tapering uniformly from the base, cylindrical spur about as long as the lip.


One of the most abundant and widespread orchids, although its inconspicuous colouring and swampy habitat make it relatively unknown. The many small yellowish-green or green flowers are very similar to those of P. dilatata except for the colour and the shape of the lip. Var. huronensis (Nuttall) Lindley is identified in The Canadian Field-Naturalist as a separate species, distinguished by its open sedge fen habitat (rarely in swamps), and its larger, light green flowers with a distinct rose-like fragrance. It can further be separated from P. hyperborea by differences in the orientations of the anther sacs in the column (Paul Catling, personal communication, 1994). A diagnostic list of comparative notes are recorded for local populations in the Ottawa District. P. huronensis appears to be self-pollinating. The previous nomencalture, Platanthera hyperborea, or northern rein orchis, is now applicable only to plants ocurring in Greenland and Iceland.
Sheviak, C.J. 1999 Lindleyana.


Orchids of Ontario
The Canadian Field-Naturalist
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey
The Wild Orchids of North America, North of Mexico

Habitat Plant Flower

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