Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (WPFO) is a declining species native to the eastern Great Plains and Tallgrass Prairie regions. Throughout much of the range, managers struggle with competing management goals, including supporting populations, controlling exotic species and responding to climate change. Complicating factors include the fact that the orchid is an erratic bloomer capable of several years' dormancy and that, until recently, little has been known about the species development before and after its midsummer flowering period. Cameras in southwestern and northwestern Minnesota capture orchid emergence and development to help us better time monitoring and management activities in the two parts of the state.
Watch an orchid grow!
Cameras have been set up to take pictures automatically of two individual Western prairie fringed orchids (in southwestern MN, the other in northwestern, MN) as they emerge in the spring and continues to mature throughout the summer.