Chapters of the story of Bluestem Farm

Platanthera psycodesOrchids found native on the farm and description of land. (this webpage)

Platanthera clevellata in flaskVisiting Bluestem's Lab

Cyp. parviflorumVisiting Bluestem's Nursery

Cyp reginaeCypripedium reginae out planting
First conservation project

Platanthera leucophaea Rock CountyPlatanhera leucophaea,  the white fringed prairie orchid, conservation

P. ophioglossoidesPhoto gallery of orchids found in South Central Wisconsin 

Click on pictures for larger pictures

P leucophaea Rock Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea

P leucophaea survey Jefferson Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea survey in Jefferson

P leucophaea Survey Rock Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea

A Williams P leucophaea Jefferson Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea and Andrew Williams

P leucophaea Winnebago Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea

Orchid Habitat Restoration and Preservation 

Bluestem Farm  photos and text by Scott Weber unless
otherwise noted. Use of photos outside of this website must be by  permission.

P leucophaea, Winnebago Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea

Germinating Platanthera seed is of special interest to me because of the decline of our beautiful endangered prairie orchid, Platanthera leucophaea.
I work part time for our Bureau of Endangered Resources (Wisconsin DNR), and survey for prairie white fringed orchids (state endangered and federally threatened).   In 2006 I collected seed to germinate in vitro and scatter in our prairie restoration on our farm.  The laboratory photos were taken last month as I tried to catch up on sowing seed collected in 2007.  Included are some photos of the young seedlings in the flask.  We believe that monitoring populations alone is not enough to protect the species since some populations are under threat by lack of management and, in some unfortunate cases, herbicide drift from adjacent farmland.  We need to spread seed into suitable habitats to reduce the risks.  The highest population of P. leucophaea in Wisconsin (hundreds of plants) occurs at a site that was formerly in row crops, and the seed either is either much longer lived than we suspect or seed drifted in from a nearby population when the fields were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  Fortunately those sites are managed privately by owners who love the orchids, and they have received permanent protection as State Natural Areas. 

Laboratory photo of Platanthera leucophaea seed sowing
photos by Martha Barrett
Click on pictures for larger pictures

scott weber sterilizing jar lidseed test tubedecanting bleach solution
  Scott Weber          Sterilizing jar lid    Seeds in test         Decanting seed     sowing seeds                                     tube                      bleach solution

sterilizing homemade spatula scraping seed side tubeopening jartapping seed to jar
  Sterilizing              Scraping seed      Opening jar          Tapping seed
  spatula                  from test tube to                              from spatula to
                                jar with media                                  jar with media

return seed tubelabeling jar tag indicationP leucophaea flask
  Seed transfer       Labeling                Tracking label        Platanthera
                                                                                         leucophaea in

P leucophaea corm P leucophaea flask
  Platanthera            Platanthera
  leucophaea corm     leucophaea

P leucophaea Survey Rock Co, WI
Platanthera leucophaea survey