Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Platanthera leucophaea


Eastern prairie fringed orchid flower

Photo by USFWS


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


Status: Threatened, listed September 28, 1989


Habitat: Mesic to wet prairies and meadows


Section 7: Guidance


Lead Region: 3


Region 3 Lead Office: Chicago, Illinois Field Office


Range: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin


Photos on Flickr


Video of Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Pollen Collection

The eastern prairie fringed orchid is protected under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. It grows in a wide variety of habitats, from mesic prairie to wetlands such as sedge meadows, marsh edges, even bogs. This orchid is a perennial plant that grows from an underground tuber. Flowering begins from late June to early July, and lasts for 7 to 10 days. Blossoms often rise just above the height of the surrounding grasses and sedges.


The eastern prairie fringed orchid has a a single upright, leafy stem with a vertical flower cluster (flower spike). The flower spike has 5 to 40 creamy white flowers and each flower has a three-part fringed lip.


What's Happening

Hunting for an Elusive Orchid Feb. 1, 2016


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchids in Illinois Reach 24-Year High! Oct. 29, 2015


Interns use genetic clues to guide imperiled orchid restoration efforts Aug. 13, 2015


Mayflies, Management, and Orchids at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge June 23, 2015


Road to recovery of eastern prairie fringed orchid takes a new turn in Illinois August 2014


Hackmatack Refuge Youth Crew Helps Search for Threatened Orchid July 2014


Finding the Needle May 5, 2014


Uihlein March Restoration and Enhancement Project November 18, 2013


Giving Recovery a Boost through Seed Capsule Distribution September 9, 2013


Partnership Restores Habitat for the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid July 2013


Natural History, Ecology and Regulatory Information

USFWS Fact sheet


Species Profile linked to National USFWS website


USFWS Fact sheet

USFWS Chicago Field Office's Species Spotlight


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid in Michigan: Michigan Natural Features Inventory Abstract - 3-page PDF


Sex and the Prairie - Chicago Wilderness Magazine


Sphinx Moths: Bird and Bee Impersonators - Chicago Wilderness Magazine


Section 7 Guidance

Determining presence in proposed project area



Chicago ES Field Partners to Manage Habitat for Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid November 29, 2012


Ballad of the Hairy-fruited Sedge (update on Eastern prairie-fringed orchid populations in Missouri): March 29, 2011


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Five-Year Review: 33-page PDF; 734KB (August 16, 2010)


Section 6 Grant Project (2006): Determination of the status of Piping Plovers, Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Prairie Bush Clover, Fassett's Locoweed, and implement recovery management for Karner Blue Butterfly and Fassett's Locoweed (Wisconsin)


2006 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant: Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid in Wisconsin (Rock County, WI)


Recovering a Prairie Orchid 2-page PDF (2003 Endangered Species Technical Bulletin)


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Recovery Plan (1999) (pdf file 868KB; 63 pages)


Listed Plants

Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: May 2, 2016