Orchis ciliaris L.
Habenaria ciliaris (L.) R.Br.
Blephariglottis ciliaris (L.) Rydb.
Blephariglottis flaviflora Raf.
Common Name: Yellow Fringed Orchid
Platanthera ciliaris is a herbaceous perennial orchid growing from a fleshy rootstock; it produces 2 - 4 basal leaves up to 30cm long and flowering stems 25 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Southeastern N. America - Michigan to Connecticutt, south to eastern Texas and Florida
Moist sandy and peaty meadows, marshes, prairies, pine savannash, open woods, wet wooded flats, seeping slopes, roadsides, dry wooded slopes, sphagnum bogs; at elevations up to 1,700 metres[
Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade[
]. Prefers a slightly acid soil with a pH in the range 5 - 6[
]. The N. American members of this genus are generally best grown in a sand-peat bed (60% silica sand, 40% sphagnum peat with a mulch of pine needles)) or in pots of pure, living sphagnum moss[
Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Even those species that grow in bogs tend to be in the drier areas of the bog with plenty of water 15cm or more below soil level. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid[
A cold infusio of the plant is used to ease the pain of a headache[
An infusion of the root is taken hourly as a treatment for diarrhoea[
The roots have been used both internally and externally as a remedy for snakebites[
Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[
]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.
Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf.