Thursday, July 21, 2011

Native Jewel Orchid

Sounds so much better than its other common name, Rattlesnake Plantain, which is what I’ve always called it. I learned the more elegant name for Goodyera pubescens by reading these posts at the Garden Professor’s Blog, a place you can get to from the links to the right. It’s a regular read for me.

The plant is not uncommon in our native Appalachian forests, although it is much more conspicuous in the late fall and winter, since it remains evergreen during that time.  Individual leaves have been known to last for up to four years.  The variegated foliage is gorgeous, and the flower, though small, definitely marks it as an orchid.  Here's a close up of the flower.

This one is in my shade garden, moved from the woods on the property (I know, I know, but there were plenty where I got it from.)
Jewel Orchid Leaves
There are four species of Goodyera found throughout the U.S. with only some areas in the Southwest lacking a native population.  Next time you're out walking in the woods, look for this relatively common native orchid.

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