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Montana Field Guides

Dense-flower Rein Orchid - Piperia elongata
Other Names:  Habenaria elegans var. elata, Piperia elegans var. elata

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S1
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Piperia elongata has been observed once in 1957 in Lincoln County, Montana. Current information on this population and additional surveys are greatly needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Dense-flower Rein Orchid (Piperia elongata) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 08/29/2016
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    ScoreU - Unknown

    Range Extent

    ScoreA - <100 sq km (< ~40 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreA - 1 4-km2 grid cell

    Number of Populations

    ScoreA - 1 - 5

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreB - Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown

    CommentThreats: Unknown/undetermined.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreA - Highly vulnerable

General Description
Plants: Perennial herb arising from tubers; tubers 10-40 mm in length, with several fibrous roots (Douglas et al. 2001); stems 30–40 cm (Lesica 2012), 1-12 mm in diameter (measured above basal leaves) (FNA 2002).

Leaves: Basal leaves 2 to 5 (Douglas et al. 2001), oblong, 7–15 cm in length (Lesica 2012), 1-8.4 cm in width, prostrate; cauline leaves 4-22 in number (FNA 2002), bractlike (Douglas et al. 2001).

Inflorescence: A spikelike raceme (Douglas et al. 2001) of overlapping flowers, 10–20 cm in length; bracts 9–14 mm in length (Lesica 2012).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Flowers May-September (FNA 2002).

Species Range

Range Comments
Canada: BC; USA: CA, ID, MT, OR, WA (FNA 2002). Known in Montana from one collection in Lincoln County (Lesica 2012).

(Lesica’s contribution from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist to wet meadows; valleys (Lesica 2012); dry, exposed habitats, forest chaparral (FNA 2002), shrubby areas, woods and woods edges, from lowland to montane elevations (Douglas et al. 2001).

(Lesica’s contribution from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Reproductive Characteristics
Flowers: Green or yellow-green (Lesica 2012), not scented (Douglas et al. 2001), or if scented, then only faintly at night, sometimes smelling like honey (FNA 2002); sepals 4–6 mm long (Lesica 2012), the upper sepal more or less upright, the lateral sepals somewhat recurved (Douglas et al. 2001); petals sickle-shaped (falcate), 2-5.5 mm long (Douglas et al. 2001); lip petal deltoid-lanceolate, bent back (FNA 2002), 4–6 mm in length; spur weakly curved, 6–15 mm long (Lesica 2012).

Fruit: Capsule ascending to upright (Douglas et al. 2001), 5–10 mm in length (Lesica 2012); seeds brown (FNA 2002).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, editors. 2001. The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia. Volume 7. Monocotyledons (Orchidaceae through Zosteraceae). British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Victoria. iv + 379 pp.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press. xxvi + 723 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Dense-flower Rein Orchid — Piperia elongata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from