Leaves. - Oblong or lance-shaped, the upper passing into linear bracts. Flowers. - Purple, fragrant, resembling those of IT. fimbriaia, but much smaller, with a less fringed lip; growing in a spike.
We should search the wet meadows in early June if we wish to be surely in time for the larger of the purple fringed orchises, for H. fimbriata, somewhat antedates H. psycodes, which is the commoner species of the two and appears in July. Under date of June 9th, Thoreau writes : "Find the great fringed-orchis out apparently two or three days, two are almost fully out, two or three only budded; a large spike of peculiarly delicate, pale-purple flowers growing in the luxuriant and shady swamp, amid hellebores, ferns, golden senecio, etc. . . . The village belle never sees this more delicate belle of the swamp. ... A beauty reared in the shade of a convent, who has never strayed beyond the convent-bell. Only the skunk or owl, or other inhabitant of the swamp, beholds it."