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Small Green Wood Orchid, Club-Spur Orchid, Green Rein Orchid, Wood Orchid, Small Woodland Orchid - Platanthera clavellata


Family: Orchidaceae - Orchid family Genus Common Name: Fringed Orchid Native Status: NativeMonocot Perennial Herb
Platanthera clavellata - Small Green Wood Orchid, Club-Spur Orchid, Green Rein Orchid, Wood Orchid, Small Woodland Orchid. Platanthera is a large genus - about 200 species - in the large Orchidaceae (Orchid) Family, a family with between 22,000 and 35,000 species worldwide. Over 30 of the Platanthera species are found in North America, among them the species presented on this page, Platanthera clavellata - Small Green Woodland Orchid. That being said, there is some questions as to whether this plant should be included in Platanthera; it and at least one other North American species in the genus (P. nivea) demonstrate morphological differences in the structure of the flower that are different from other Platanthera species. Platanthera clavellata is protected in at least four states due to its rarity in those jurisdictions. It grows in bogs and other wet areas. Habenaria clavellata is a synonym of Platanthera clavellata.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, GS
Platanthera clavellata

Distribution of Platanthera clavellata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 19 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA Date: 2016-August-02Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowers of Platanthera clavellata are pale green, greenish white, yellowish white, or dull white. They are in a moderately dense spike or raceme of up to 20 small flowers terminating the stem, blooming from mid to late summer. The lip of the flowers lack the fringes of many members of Plantanthera, and lack a tubercle on the upper lip, helping distinguish it from Platanthera flava. The club-like appearance of the spur gives it another common name - Club Spur Orchid.
Platanthera clavellata

Site: Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA Date: 2016-August-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The Small Green Woodland Orchid may grow to about 16 inches tall, but is usually notably shorter - maybe only 4 inches tall. Combined with the inconspicuous coloration within its habitat, it can go unnoticed to the casual observer.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Platanthera clavellata

Site: Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA Date: 2016-August-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Platanthera clavellata usually has only one large leaf, located on the lower half of the stem, but may occasionally have two. Most similar species have two or more leaves. The large leaf is 2 to 6 inches long, and glabrous.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Platanthera clavellata

Site: Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA Date: 2016-August-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The upper leaves - all but the lowest 1 or 2 - are reduced to bracts along a mostly glabrous green stem. The stem is unbranched.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Platanthera clavellata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer