Orchids are generally uncommon, but platanthera dilatata
is widespread across many mountainous regions of the West, usually growing near a water source. The white or very pale yellow flowers are about 2/3 of an inch in diameter and are borne in large numbers along the upper part of the thick green stem, which in some specimens is quite short, around 10 inches, but can reach heights of 40 inches and have many dozen flowers. The flowers are formed of a broad, upper hood, two narrow wings, a wider lower lip and a backwards-pointing spur.
Between the flowers are short, pointed leaflets, slightly whorled in arrangement. There are three varieties (albiflora, dilatata, leucostachys), identifiable by the relative length of the spur.