Platanthera psycodes
(Linnaeus) Lindley [Habenaria psycodes] (Linnaeus) Sprengel
Small Purple Fringed Orchid

Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.
Specific Habitat

Low Deciduous woods, along streams, wet, grassy meadows, roadside ditches. The soils are usually moderately acidic sands or sandy humus. In forests and swamps, the substrate is often highly organic.

Flowering SeasonLate June - early August.

Height to 50 cm.
Leaves dull, dark to medium apple green, elliptic-long, reduced to bracts above.
Raceme lax to dense, 20 - 40 flowers.
Flower colour is lilac to purple, rarely white; lip tripartite divisions cuneate, margins shallowly fringed. Sometimes called the butterfly orchid.


Widespread but not abundant. Many colonies are rather short-lived. Closely resembles P. grandiflora, with which it occasionally grows. While both species are easily recognized by their numerous purple fringed flowers on a leafy stem, P. psycodes has a flattened entrance to the spur, sometimes divided into two smaller entrances, rather than being round. Also, the anther sacs are close and parallel instead of diverging downward.. Finally, its flowers are only half as large as P. grandiflora. Grows to the same height as P. leucophaea, but has only dime-sized flowers.


Orchids of Ontario
The Canadian-Field Naturalist
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey


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