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

Platanthera dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. ex Beck
fragrant white rein orchid (fragrant white bog orchid; scentbottle)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #711)

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Distribution of Platanthera dilatata
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from spindle-shaped stem-bases, with a few fibrous roots; stems 15-100 cm tall, leafy.
Basal and stem leaves oblong to linear or lanceolate, 10-30 cm long.
Inflorescence a terminal, 5- to 30-flowered spike, the flowers white, very fragrant, unstalked; sepals 3-9 mm long, broadly lanceolate, 3(4)-veined, the upper sepal egg-shaped, erect, converging with the petals and forming a hood; petals 1- to 2-veined, slightly shorter and wider than sepals; lip linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, 5-10 mm long, strongly round-dilated at base; spur 5-10 mm long, slenderly cylindric to slightly club-shaped, slightly curved; column about 2 mm long.
Capsules, ascending to erect.
Three varieties occur in BC:

1. Spurs up to two-thirds the length of lips.................... var. albiflora (Cham.) Ledeb.

1. Spurs equaling the lips or slightly longer.

2. Spurs 1.5-2 times longer than lips, very slender, strongly curved..................... var. leucostachys (Lindl.) Luer

2. Spurs about the length of the lips, not very slender, not strongly curved....................... var. dilatata

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows, seepage slopes, bogs, stream and lake margins and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC, except var. albiflora, rare in S BC; var. albiflora - N to AK, E to NF and S to CO, UT, ID and OR; var. dilatata - N to AK, YT and NT, E to ME, MA, NY, IN, IL, MN, SD, NM, UT, NV and OR; var. leucostachys - N to AK and S to WY, AZ and CA; Greenland.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Platanthera dilatata

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) 0 1101 2200
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 231 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 8
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: BAFA(4), BWBS(20), CDF(5), CMA(1), CWH(67), ESSF(269), ICH(153), IDF(21), IMA(1), MH(21), MS(90), PP(3), SBPS(18), SBS(200), SWB(4)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and transcontinental North American forb. Occurs on wet to very wet, nitrogen­medium soils within boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation and continentality. Scattered on organic substrates in non-forested, semi-terrestrial communities and open-canopy forests on water-collecting sites. Characteristic of wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References