Family, Orchis. Color: although this is named a purple fringed orchis, I prefer to call it a deep pink, almost crimson, occasionally white. Sepals and petals small, the latter toothed, varying in size. The lip is fan-shaped, 3-divided, all its parts being deeply fringed. Spur, thread-like, thicker above. The delicate blossoms are fragrant, arranged in a dense spike, 6 inches or less long, terminating a slender stem 1 to 3 feet high. Leaves, the lower, oval or elliptical, quite large, parallel-veined, passing upward into bracts which underlie the flowers in the raceme. July and August.
In wet woods or swamps, where its fleshy, spreading, tuberous roots can find plenty of water. New England to South Carolina and westward. The specific name means a butterfly, referring to the light, poised appearance of the flower of this beautiful orchid.