Page authors: Ben Legler, David Giblin
Cephalanthera austiniae
phantom orchid
Plants growing in typical deep coniferous habitat. Note the sheathing bracts along the leftmost flowering stem of the clump on the right.

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest and in the Blue Mountains in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to Idaho.

Habitat: Generally deep coniferous woods where somewhat moist.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


White, leafless plants that grow to a height of 20-50 cm. and turn brown with aging.


The plants are myco-heterotrophic, so lack green leaves.


White, the labellum (lower lip of the orchid flower) with yellow margins at the tip and sac-shaped at the base; 1-2 cm. long.


Brown capsule.

Identification Notes:

Distinctive by the absence of green leaves and the white flowers borne on white stems that arise from the soil.

Accepted Name:
Cephalanthera austiniae (A. Gray) A. Heller
Publication: Cat. N. Amer. Pl. ed. 2. 4. (as austinae). 1900.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Chloraea austiniae A. Gray
Eburophyton austiniae (A. Gray) A. Heller [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Cephalanthera austiniae in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Cephalanthera austiniae checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Cephalanthera austiniae information.

E-Flora BC: Cephalanthera austiniae atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cephalanthera austiniae photos.

USDA Plants: Cephalanthera austiniae information.

35 photographs:
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