Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Twin Cities Field Office

4101 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone: 952-252-0092
Fax: 952-646-2873
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)




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Minnesota Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

Western prairie fringed orchid(Platanthera praeclara)


Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

Photo by Christie Borkowsky

The western prairie fringed orchid is a threatened plant restricted to west of the Mississippi River and currently occurs in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and in Manitoba, Canada. This species, like the closely related eastern prairie fringed orchid, has been extirpated from much of its former range due to the plowing of native prairies and overgrazing. Both orchids occur most often in mesic to wet unplowed tallgrass prairies and meadows but have been found in old fields and roadside ditches.


Flowers of the western prairie fringed orchid are fragrant at night, attracting hawkmoths that feed on nectar and transfer pollen from flower to flower and plant to plant. Seed germination and proper plant growth depend on a symbiotic relationship between the plants' reduced root systems and a soil-inhabiting fungus for proper water uptake and nutrition.


Fact Sheet: Western Prairie Fringed Orchid


Species Profile links to National FWS website


Photo Photo Credit: National Park Service


Minnesota Wildflowers - Western Prairie Fringed Orchid


Missouri Department of Conservation Fact Sheet and Photo




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Last updated: February 11, 2016