Fringed Orchids in Your Pocket

Fringed Orchids in Your Pocket

A Guide to Native Platanthera Species of the Continental United States and Canada

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laminated fold-out guide, 47 color photos, 3 drawings, 16 3/4 x 16 7/8 inches folds to 4 1/8 x 9 inches

“Beginning in 2000, when the University of Iowa Press published Mark Müller’s Prairie in Your Pocket: A Guide to Plants of the Tallgrass Prairie, these colorful and informative laminated guides have jumped out of our store into the backpacks and automobiles and baby buggies of our customers. Hikers, scouts, teachers, and nature lovers of all skill levels have welcomed each new guide. I look forward to more and more innovative ways to appreciate the outdoor world.”—Jim Harris, Prairie Lights Books

Native orchids are increasingly threatened by pressure from population growth and development but, nonetheless, still present a welcome surprise to observant hikers in every state and province. Compiled and illustrated by long-time orchid specialist Paul Martin Brown, this pocket guide to the fringed orchids forms part of a series that will cover all the wild orchids of the continental United States and Canada.

Brown provides a description, general distributional information, time of flowering, and habitat requirements for each species as well as a complete list of hybrids and the many different growth and color forms that can make identifying orchids so challenging. For the fringed-lipped orchids, which make up some of the most intriguing and richly colored of all wild orchids, he includes information on fourteen species and thirteen hybrids.

The genus Platanthera is the largest genus of orchids to be found in North America north of Mexico; the fringe-lipped group is found primarily in the eastern U.S. and Canada, extending west to the prairies and Great Plains. The fringed orchids, so-called because of the delicately fringed petals and lips on many of the species, comprise some of the largest and showiest native orchids found in our region. Most of these species are easy to identify based upon their general appearance, range, and time of flowering. Answering three simple questions—when, where, and how does it grow?—and comparing the living plants with the striking photos in the backpack-friendly laminated guide and the information in the simple key should enable both professional and amateur naturalists to achieve the satisfaction of identifying a specific orchid.