Tubercled Rein-Orchid Survey

Tubercled Rein-Orchid Surveys

In 2012, CCES was retained by the Minnesota DNR to complete field surveys for the state-threatened species, Platanthera flava var. herbiola (tubercled rein orchid). Survey efforts were focused on the Anoka Sand Plain, where the orchid species is known to occur. The Anoka Sand Plain is an ecological subsection in central Minnesota and is about one million acres in size. The Anoka Sand Plain is dominated by fine, sandy soils and is known for its ability to support a variety of rare species.

Using knowledge obtained from more than fifteen years of survey work focused on the Anoka Sand Plain, CCES designed survey methods for this project which would help target specific land area within the Anoka Sand Plain with a high potential to support tubercled rein orchids. Using a GIS-based model, CCES melded data layers including soils information, hydrology, geology, land cover, and known rare species occurrences to determine where to best perform field surveys. Using this narrowed search area, CCES began field surveys during July of 2012.

Survey work occurred on both public and private lands where landowners approved access. The intensive survey work lasted through the 2012 growing season and had remarkable results. In a single field season, CCES ecologists detected 23 new populations of tubercled rein orchid. To put this in perspective, between 1892 and the start of the 2012 field season (120 years), only 36 populations of tubercled rein orchid had been documented in the state of Minnesota. In 2012, CCES almost doubled the number of recorded detections in the State. With this increase in finds, so much more is now known about this rare orchid species especially in regard to its habitat requirements, associated species, and its phenology.

In addition to field survey work, CCES also created database information for each population of tubercled rein orchid detected as well as specimen collections and highly detailed herbarium labels as necessary documentation. This information was provide to the client, the Minnesota DNR. CCES has also given several presentations and led a number of field trips in an effort to share the scientific results of this project, furthering the understanding and conservation of the tubercled rein orchid in Minnesota.


Orchid field surveys, GIS/GPS mapping, technical reporting, specimen preparation, herbarium label creation, summary presentations, field trips and tours


Minnesota DNR


Anoka Sand Plain