White Bog Orchid
Platanthera dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. ex Beck
Family: Orchidaceae, Orchid
Genus: Platanthera
Synonyms: Habenaria dilatata
Other names: scentbottle, rein-orchid
Nomenclature: dilatata, expanded (lip base)
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
Medicinal plant
Poisonous plant

General: erect perennial, hairless, 15-100 cm tall, the stem leafy, from fleshy, tuber-like roots.

Leaves: alternate, gradually reduced upward, sheathing, the lower ones from oblong-elliptic to lanceolate, blunt-tipped or pointed, mostly 4-10 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, sometimes up to 25 cm long and 5 cm broad, upward on the stem more pointed.

Flowers: white to slightly greenish-tinged, very fragrant, many in a tall, dense spike, 5-30 cm long, with bracts at bases. Sepals lanceolate, blunt-tipped, mostly 3-nerved, the upper one broader, hooded, 4-6 mm long, the lower 5-8 mm long, spreading, usually twisted. Petals lanceolate, the upper ones bent inward, 1- or 2-nerved, equalling or slightly exceeding the upper sepal and touching it, forming a distinct hood. Lip 5-8 mm long, 5- to 7-nerved, distinctly broadened at the base, the tip rounded. Spur slenderly cylindric to club-shaped, curved, from half to as long as the lip. Pollen sacs only slightly separated. June-July.

Fruits: erect, elliptic capsules.


Wet, usually more or less boggy ground, in open to shaded areas, foothills to subalpine zone, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from AK to CA, NV, UT, NM, SD, MI, PA, and NY.
Edible Uses

The root of white rein orchid is edible cooked. It is said to taste like frozen potatoes.

Medicinal Uses

The root juice has been mixed with water and drunk in the treatment of gravel by the Northeastern Algonquians.

Poisonous Properties

The leaves are considered poisonous.

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