E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Piperia elegans (Lindl.) Rydb.
elegant rein orchid (elegant piperia; seaside rein orchid)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #648)

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Distribution of Piperia elegans
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from tubers, 1.5-4.5 cm long, with a few fibrous roots; stems 15-70 cm tall, more than 3 mm wide.
Basal 2 or 3, rarely 4, oblanceolate, 6-30 cm long, 1-7.5 cm wide, blunt-tipped; stem leaves bractlike.
Inflorescence a terminal, spikelike raceme, 3-40 cm long, usually densely-flowered, the flowers small, white to pale green, heavily scented; sepals 4-6.5 mm long, lanceolate, midvein dark green, the upper sepal more or less erect; petals 4-6 mm long, lanceolate, white or pale green with green midvein or base, spreading to erect; lip 3.5-6.5 mm long, lanceolate, more or less curved downward; spur 6-14 mm long, curved, pointed downward; column oblong, about twice as long as wide.
Capsules, ascending to erect, 5-11 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to temporarily moist grassy meadows, depressions, and ditches in the lowland zone; infrequent in SW BC (Vancouver Island) and Queen Charlotte Islands; S to MT, ID, OR and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Piperia elegans

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 192 1168 1536
Slope Gradient (%) 5 36 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
134 174 310
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(1), ESSF(1), ICH(2), MH(2), MS(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Habenaria unalascensis subsp. elata (Jeps.) Calder
Habenaria unalascensis var. elata (Jeps.) Correll
Piperia elegans var. elata (Jeps.) Luer
Piperia lancifolia Rydb.
Piperia longispica Durand
Platanthera unalascensis subsp. elata (Jeps.) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References