White Bog-orchid – Platanthera dilatata

Orchid Family – Orchidaceae

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

The White Bog-orchid is also called Dilated Bog-orchid, White Rein-orchid or Bog Candle. An older Latin name is Habenaria dilatata

Plant Description: The White Bog-orchid is a perennial with a stout, up to 3-foot tall stem. Fleshy, sheathing leaves cover the lower part of the stem. The leaves quickly decrease in size upward. There are from 5 to 30 flowers on the upper third of the stem.

Flower Description: The flowers are waxy white and can be almost an inch wide. Three tepals form a hood over the lip and the other two tepals spread wide on the sides. The lip is slender at its tip, but is dilated at its base. It droops gracefully in front and curves backward and downward. The spur is longer than the lip, more or less straight and not especially slender.

Ecology: White Bog-orchid grows in wet ground, seeps, wet meadows, and moist forest edges at middle to subalpine elevations.


  • White Bog-orchid is very fragrant with a sweet and spicy fragrance.
  • The White Bog-orchid is usually pollinated by moths which have long tongues to reach the nectar deep in the spur. The bright, white color helps the flowers to be seen at night.


White Bog-orchid Photo Gallery

Photo information: #1764 was taken on August 11, 2004 on the Esmeralda Basin Trail, Hwy 970, Cle Elum, WA. The other photos were taken on July 25, 2012 on the Takakkow Falls Trail, Yoho NP, BC, Canada.


Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across