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Rattlesnake Orchid
Goodyera pubescens

It’s the flower of this native orchid that resembles the “rattle” end of a rattlesnake. This lovely little evergreen is easy to spot on the forest floor, especially in the winter.

Here’s something about orchids from Wildflowers & Plant Communities: Orchid seeds lack an endospearm (i.e. stored food), so they depend on a symbiotic relationship with a specialized soil fungus for seed germination and seedling growth. The change of a seed encountering an appropriate fungus is very small. For this and other limiting factors, only a tiny fraction of the seeds produced develop into seedlings. Orchid seedlings develop so slowly that it may take 5-10 years or more before a plant is large enough to flower.

So, every orchid you see is truly a miraculous gift!

Size:  up to 15" tall.
Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid Family) 
Habitat: Likes moist to dry forests, both conifer and hardwood, and slightly acidic soils. 
Identification: "Herbaceous perennial with 4-8 evergreen leaves in a basal rosette. Ovate leaves bluish green with a distinctive network of white veins and a broad white stripe down the midrib. Stout, hairy, flowering stalk up to 15" tall, the upper part densely packed with small, hairy white flowers with a sac-like lower lip" From Wildflowers & Plant Communities  Blooms June-August
Uses: The Cherokee made a tea from the leaves to treat colds and kidney problems.


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All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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