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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jim Riley     (Photo ID #648)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Piperia elegans
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1168 192 1536
Slope Gradient (%)
36 5 70

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

174 134 310
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 1 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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