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!
Alternate Names: Rattlesnake Hawkweed, Robin's plantain Size: up to 18" tall. Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family) Habitat: Dry open woods, thickets, and clearings. Identification: This is a hairy plant that has a small rosette of green leaves with purple or red veins. The yellow ray flowers appear on a tall stem Blooms May-September