Jul. 4, 2021

Lake Huron green orchid, Platanthera huronensis

Lake Huron green orchid is a taller and more robust plant than yesterday's little Alaska orchid. These can get close to three feet tall. Platanthera was previously included in the genus Habenaria. And the species with smaller, mostly greenish flowers are called rein orchids, which was the first name I learned for them. That label was always a little mysterious to me. So I finally looked it up yesterday, and it turns out some imaginative person thought the petals looked like horse reins, and that's the translation of Habenaria. The imagination belonged to Carl Ludwig Wildenow, the German botanist who first christened the genus Habenaria in 1805. I will admit they were a lot more familiar with horses back then than I will ever be, and maybe it made sense. The little loops you see here are because the flowers lips are touching the hoods. When the flowers are completely open those will drop. Then perhaps their somewhat narrow shape will look more like reins. Lake Huron grows on bogs and fen in AK, CO, CT, IA, IL, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, VT, WI, WY, AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and YT. Mackinac Co MI, 6/19/21. Orchid family, Orchidaceae.