Piperia Species

This page shows an overview of all the species of Piperia in the wiki. For information on the genus and links to the single species pages see Piperia.


Piperia candida Rand.Morgan & Ackerman, syn. Platanthera ephemerantha R.M.Bateman, is known as the white flower rein orchid. It is native to western North America from Alaska to the San Francisco Bay Area, where it grows in coniferous forests and other habitat in coastal and inland mountain ranges within 100 miles of the coast. The flowers are sweetly fragrant, and are whiter than those of other Piperia, but sometimes contain some green veining or margins. Photos from Aaron Arthur.

Piperia candida, Aaron ArthurPiperia candida, Aaron ArthurPiperia candida, Aaron ArthurPiperia candida, Aaron Arthur

Piperia colemanii R.Morgan & Glicenstein, syn. Platanthera colemanii (Rand.Morgan & Glic.) R.M.Bateman, is known as Coleman's rein orchid. It is endemic to California, where it is known from the Sierra Nevada and one disjunct location in Colusa County, California. It grows in coniferous forests and chaparral in deep sandy soils. It grows to roughly half a meter with about a hundred small greenish unscented flowers with curved sickle-shaped petals. This species can be differentiated from Piperia unalascensis by having a shorter spur relative to the lip. The leaves are thin and grasslike. Photos from Aaron Arthur.

Piperia colemanii, Aaron ArthurPiperia colemanii, Aaron Arthur

Piperia dilatata ( Pursh ) Szlach. & Rutk. is now considered to be a synonym of Platanthera dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. ex L.C.Beck.


Piperia elegans (Lindl.) Rydb., syn. Platanthera elegans Lindl., is known as the Elegant rein orchid. It grows in coastal areas and a little bit inland, from California to British Columbia, Canada, flowering more prolifically in the coastal sites. Lateral petals are white to pale green with a green midvein or base and a white to pale green lip. Flowers have musky fragrance. It grows to around three feet tall. The Jepson Manual lists two subspecies.

Piperia elegans (Lindl.) Rydb. ssp. decurtata Rand. Morgan & Glicenstein differs from the other subspecies by its shorter stature, shorter spur, and spicy fragrance. It has only been found on windswept coastal bluffs, Point Reyes, Marin County, California.

Piperia elegans ssp. elegans is generally found in dry, open sites, scrub, conifer forest below 500 m. It flowers May through September. Photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller on the Mendocino Sonoma Coast different years in July and September.

Piperia elegans ssp. elegans, Bob RutemoellerPiperia elegans ssp. elegans, Bob RutemoellerPiperia elegans ssp. elegans, Bob Rutemoeller

Piperia elongata Rydb., syn. Platanthera elongata (Rydb.) R.M.Bateman, is known as the denseflower rein orchid. It is native from British Columbia and Montana to southern California, where it grows in mountain forests and scrub habitat. The green flowers have a long spur, sometimes fragrant in the evening, and sometimes densely arranged on the scape. Photos from the Wikimedia commons by Franco Folini (source), Marlin Harms (source), and Anthony Valois (National Park Service), respectively.

Piperia elongata, Franco FoliniPiperia elongata, Marlin HarmsPiperia elongata, Anthony Valois, National Park Service

Piperia michaelii (Greene) Rydb. (syn. Platanthera michaelii) is known as Michael's rein orchid. It is endemic to California in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and some coastal areas in mostly woodland, forest or scrub habitats. The greenish flowers are fragrant at night. Photos from the Wikimedia commons by Bill Bouton (source) and George Williams (source), respectively.

Piperia michaeliiPiperia michaelii, George Williams

Piperia transversa Suksd., syn. Platanthera transversa (Suksd.) R.M.Bateman, is a species of rein orchid (known specifically as the royal rein orchid) native to North America from California north to British Columbia. It grows in a variety of habitats from chaparral to forest, often in areas that dry out in summer at elevations below 2600 m. The species can be identified from other Piperia species by its mostly white flowers, spurs mostly perpendicular to the scape, and mild scent at night (not always detectable). The basal leaves are usually withered by the time it blooms, late May to August.

The first three photos by Travis Owen show plants growing under Douglas-fir, oak, and madrone trees with Mahonia, Lonicera, and Toxicodendron. Dodecatheon hendersonii and Erythronium hendersonii also grow here, giving clues to its culture. The last two photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner.

Piperia transversa, Travis OwenPiperia transversa, Travis OwenPiperia transversa, Travis OwenPiperia transversa, Mary Sue IttnerPiperia transversa, Mary Sue Ittner

Piperia unalascensis (Spreng.) Rydb., syn. Platanthera unalascensis (Spreng.) Kurtz, is native to much of North America, mostly in the West in Alaska south to the Southern States, and in Eastern Canada in the Great Lakes region. The green flowers are widely spaced on the inflorescence, with a sweet to musky scent in the evenings. The first photo from the Wikimedia commons by Jason Hollinger (source) and the last two by Aaron Arthur.

Piperia unalascensis, Jason HollingerPiperia unalascensis, Aaron ArthurPiperia unalascensis, Aaron Arthur

Piperia yadonii R. Morgan & Ackerman (syn. Platanthera yadonii) is known as Yadon's rein orchid. It is an endangered orchid endemic to a narrow range of coastal habitat in northern Monterey County, California. See the Wikipedia page for more info: Piperia yadonii. Photo from the Wikimedia commons by John Game (source).

Piperia yadonii, John Game

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Page last modified on August 31, 2016, at 06:09 PM