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Piperia elegans (Elegant piperia)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Piperia elegans

Piperia elegans (Lindl.) Rydb.

Elegant Piperia, Elegant Rein Orchid

Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)


USDA Symbol: PIEL2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Many white, fragrant, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in a raceme at tip of a stout stem with leaves near base.

The photograph and description above is of this species' coastal phase, which occurs south from northern Washington to central California. Near the coast the northern populations were once called Coastal Rein Orchid (Habenaria greenei). The more stout and more densely flowered coastal plants intergrade with the more slender inland plants, which are sometimes called Slender Rein Orchid. The name Habenaria elegans was formerly restricted to inland plants, which inhabit rather dry, open woods. Because the inland and coastal plants intergrade, they are presently considered the same species, now in the genus Piperia, and may be all included under the common name Elegant Rein Orchid. The inland Slender Rein Orchid has an open inflorescence and pale greenish-yellow flowers, each with a spur more than 1/4" (6 mm) long. Careful study has revealed two new species among these similar-appearing plants. Two species, both with greenish stripes on the petals and found from central California northward, have recently been named. Monterey Rein Orchid (P. yadonii) has white petals with green outer borders and usually more than six bracts on the stem; it is rare, occurring only in Monterey County, California. White-lip Rein Orchid (P. candida) has white petals with a green midvein, fewer than six bracts on the stem, and flowers turned mostly to one side; it occurs near the Pacific Coast from Washington to central California.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple

Bloom Information

Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: British Columbia south to central California and east to Montana.
Native Habitat: Open sites in shrublands and coniferous forests.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Piperia elegans in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Piperia elegans in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Piperia elegans


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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