Plants and Animals
Platanthera unalascensis Alaska orchid
Small orchid (20-50 cm) of alvar; leaves lanceolate and spreading; flowers translucent green, tiny (5 mm), in a dense terminal spike.
Status and Rank
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2S3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable
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Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.
Alaska orchid is found in coastal conifer forests and glades dominated by northern white cedar, white spruce, and balsam fir. It is restricted to the eastern edge of Upper Peninsula, and is especially found on Drummond Island.
For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.
Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.
White spruce, balsam-fir, white-cedar, paper birch, ground juniper, bearberry, rice-grass, bunchberry, big-leaved aster, northern ragwort, wild sarsaparilla, spurred gentian, and pinedrops.
The species requires protection of habitat and natural disturbance (wind throw) and hydrological regimes.
Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.
Survey Period: From first week of July to fourth week of August
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