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Slender-spire Orchid

Slender-spire Orchid. Alaska piperia - Piperia unalascensis

Slender-spire Orchid, photographer Martha Rasmussen

This is a very variable flower, in its young stages the lips of the orchid can be greenish making it to look a bit like the Bracted Rein-orchid and grows usually 12 to 18 inches tall, however in very rich moist humus this plant can grow up to 3 feet tall.  Most white-lipped bog orchids give off a pleasant perfumed-vanilla fragrance where the Slender-spire orchid has a stale-mossy smell.  This is a beautiful alpine flower when in the mature stage has bright white lips and a lush green stem and leaves.  You will often find this flower growing in the same habitat as Mountain Marsh Marigold in late May though August.