Platanthera flava (L.) Lindl. var. herbiola (R. Br.) Luer
Tubercled orchid, tubercled rein-orchid
The specific epithet flava is the Latin meaning "yellow,"
in reference to the yellowish cast to the flowers, which appear even more
yellow in dried specimens. The varietal name herbiola is the Latin
meaning "little plant."
DESCRIPTION: Plant glabrous,
arising from a cluster of fleshy, thickened roots, 10-60 cm tall. Leaves
2-5, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate to elliptical, gradually reduced to
linear-lanceolate bracts higher up on the stem, 6.5-18 cm long and 1.4-5
cm wide, ascending. Inflorescence a loose or dense raceme, 15-40(-60)
flowered; flowers yellowish-green to green, each flower subtended by a lance-linear,
acuminate bract. Sepals ovate, 2-4 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide, colored
as flowers; dorsal sepal connivent with petals over the column, lateral
sepals reflexed. Petals similar to sepals, connivent with dorsal
sepal over the column, colored as flowers. Labellum oblong to quadrate
with a pair of teeth or triangular lobes near the base and a prominent tubercle
in the central portion of the base, 3-6 mm long and 1-3 mm wide, colored
as flowers, base of labellum with a +/- clubbed nectar spur projecting
behind, 4-7 mm long.
SIMILAR SPECIES: This species is often confused with Coeloglossum
viride var. virescens, particularly when dried and mounted
as an herbarium specimen. Platanthera flava var. herbiola
could also possibly be confused with P. hyperborea.
The prominent tubercle on the labellum of P. flava var. herbiola
serves to distinguish it from both of these taxa.
HABITAT: In Wisconsin, Platanthera flava var. herbiola
is found along the margins of lakes, rivers and ponds, and in moist meadows
or prairies. All of these habitats are characterized by moist, slightly
acid to slightly basic, sandy soils.
FLOWERING DATES: June 20-July 25.
POLLINATION: Stoutamire (1971)
reports mosquitos pollinating Platanthera flava var. flava.
I have collected several species of pyralid moths pollinating P. flava
var. herbiola in south-central Wisconsin.
WI DISTRIBUTION: U.S. DISTRIBUTION:
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