Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Platanthera leucophaea


Photo by USFWS


Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


Status: Threatened, listed September 28, 1989


Habitat: Mesic to wet prairies and meadows


Project Reviews and Section 7 for Chicago Metro Area: Guidance - how to determine if the eastern prairie fringed orchid is present


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.


In the News

Elusive Orchid Feb. 1, 2016


24-Year High! Oct. 29, 2015


Genetic clues to guide restoration Aug. 13, 2015


Mayflies, Management, and Orchids June 23, 2015


Road to recovery takes a new turn August 2014


Hackmatack Refuge Youth Crew Search July 2014


Finding the Needle May 5, 2014


Uihlein Marsh Restoration November 18, 2013


Seed Capsule Distribution September 9, 2013


Partnership Restores Habitat July 2013


Natural History, Ecology and Regulatory Information

Fact sheet


Species Profile linked to National USFWS website

USFWS Chicago Field Office's Species Spotlight


Abstract: Michigan Natural Features Inventory - 3-page PDF


Sex and the Prairie - Chicago Wilderness Magazine


Sphinx Moths: Bird and Bee Impersonators - Chicago Wilderness Magazine


Project Review and Section 7 Guidance For Chicago Metro Area

How to Determine Presence



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


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: March 12, 2018