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Native Orchids of Minnesota

Purple Fringed Orchid

Purple Fringed Orchid

I have had the opportunity to come across a few orchids while harvesting seed. I have seen two different species on the Princeton farm. One species, Spiranthes cernua, Nodding ladies-tresses, was found in our wet basin’s about three years ago and I have not seen it there since. This year, I found Platanthera lacera, Ragged fringed orchid, in the ditch adjacent to our Indian grass field. Both of these orchids commonly grow in the Anoka Sand Plain. Every year I look for Platanthera psycodes, Small purple fringed orchid, on my parent’s farm. I find it about every other year. It is a lovely orchid to see.
Raggedfringed Orchid

Raggedfringed Orchid

Orchids have very small, very light seed, which allows it to travel quite far by air or water. The seed is so light because, unlike other plants, it contains no stored carbohydrates. There is only the outer seed coat and the embryo. The seed must pair with a fungus before or shortly after germination so the fungus can provide minerals and nutrients for the developing plant. Orchids rely on mycorrhiza fungi to provide water and minerals and connect them with the other plants in the ecosystem.

I highly recommend “Native Orchids of Minnesota” by Welby Smith. It is an excellent guide to the 46 species of orchids which grow in Minnesota. The book can be found in both the Scandia and Princeton retail stores.

Raina Kujawa
Greenhouse Manager
Princeton, MN

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