Purple Petal Bog Orchid (Platanthera purpurascens)
The purple-petal bog orchid (also known as the short-spurred bog orchid - a better name!) is another one of those difficult to ID members of the Platanthera family of bog orchids that not only look very similar to other species, they also hybridize to make identification even more confusing and difficult. Even the common name is misleading as the flowers are actually dark green, but some of them can develop a faintly reddish to purplish coloration. The most important keys to identifying this species are the width of the base of the lip, the short length of the spur and thick, blunt and wildly-positioned leaves. This one was part of a small colony found growing in standing water at about 12,000 feet in elevation in the Rocky Mountains at Independence Pass, just east of Aspen, Colorado.
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