P. praeclara was historically distributed throughout the western Central Lowlands and eastern Great Plains within the USA, inclusive of the following states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Nebraska. Presently, extant populations of P. praeclara are found in 45 counties in six states ranging through nine ecoregion sections. Most recently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) indicates that counties containing extant populations are presently found in the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Minnesota, with the latter three states having the bulk of the remaining populations. Largest numbers of flowering individuals occur in Minnesota on land preserves managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and by The Nature Conservancy. Other sites of significance occur in North Dakota, where over 90% of known orchids are located within the Sheyenne National Grassland, which is managed by the USDA Forest Service.
In Canada,P. praeclara occurs in one extant metapopulation in the Province of Manitoba, occupying approximately 670 ha. Many of the largest patches of plants are currently located within the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.