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

Piperia unalascensis (Spreng.) Rydb.
Alaska rein orchid (slender-spire orchid)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5652)

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Distribution of Piperia unalascensis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from tubers, 1-4 cm long, with a few fibrous roots; stems 15-90 cm tall.
Basal 2 to 5, oblanceolate, 7-15 cm long, 0.5-4 cm wide; stem leaves bractlike.
Inflorescence a terminal, spikelike raceme, 5-40 cm long, usually open, sometimes densely-flowered above, the flowers small, green, faintly-scented, the scent pleasant; sepals 2-5.5 mm long, lanceolate, the upper sepal ascending or pointed forward; petals 2-5.5 mm long, lanceolate, somewhat erect to pointed forward; lip 2-5 mm long, oblong to triangular, usually pointed downward, the tip upcurved; spur 1.5-5 mm long, pointed back or downward.
Capsules, ellipsoid, ascending to erect.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist coniferous forests, grassy slopes, meadows, thickets and streambanks in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC south of 56 degrees N, especially east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, E to NF and S to MI, SD, NM, UT, NV and CA; Baja CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Piperia unalascensis

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) 8 865 2014
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 85
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 208 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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: BWBS(17), CDF(23), CWH(10), ESSF(10), ICH(49), IDF(37), MS(21), SBPS(7), SBS(35)


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 (Spreng.) S. Watson
Platanthera cooperi (S. Watson) Rydb.
Platanthera unalascensis (Spreng.) Kurtz
Platanthera unalascensis subsp. unalascensis
Spiranthes unalascensis Spreng.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References