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Platanthera nivea (Nuttall) Luer. Subgenus: Blephariglottis. Section: Gymnadeniopsis. Snowy Orchid, Bog-spike. Phen: May-Sep. Hab: Wet pine savannas, acid seepages, Catahoula barrens (in e. TX). Dist: Essentially a Southeastern Coastal Plain endemic, P. nivea ranges from s. NJ and DE (at least formerly) south to FL and west to e. TX and e. AR; disjunct inland in Coffee County, TN (Eastern Highland Rim) and w. SC (in the uppermost Piedmont in the Blue Ridge Escarpment edge).

ID notes: The flowers are so white as to seem illuminated from within.

Origin/Endemic status: Endemic

Other Comments: This species is even more irregular than most Platanthera in its flowering, whole populations sometimes not flowering for a number of years. Its flowers are also not resupinate, unlike most Platanthera in our area. This species was once locally abundant in the outer Coastal Plain of the Carolinas and farther south; Correll (1950) describes "large colonies of this species which form a blanket of white over the landscape." Also see the picture in B.W. Wells’s Natural Gardens of North Carolina.

Synonymy: = AqW, Ar, ETx1, FNA26, K1, K3, K4, Tn, Brown (2002), Luer (1975); = Gymnadeniopsis nivea (Nutt.) Rydb. – S, S13; = Habenaria nivea (Nutt.) Spreng. – C, F, G, GW1, RAB, Tat, Tn, Tx, WH3, Correll (1950)

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: FACW
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACW
  • Great Plains: FACW

Heliophily ?: 9

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image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Sonnia Hill | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Platanthera nivea, road side, U.S. 301, Brantley County, Georgia 5 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷


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