Rattlesnake Orchid

This rattlesnake orchid (Goodyera oblongifolia) was growing along the North Umpqua Trail in Southern Oregon. Supposedly the white mottling on the shiny deep green leaves of the basal rosette resembles the skin pattern of a rattlesnake, hence the name. Sometimes these associations are a little tenuous to me. Rattlesnake plantain is another common name for this beautiful wildflower growing in coniferous forests.

The white flowers grow on a single leafless stem rising out of the basal rosette. Usually there are ten to fifteen flowers on the stem, however, there can be as many as thirty or more blossoms. Unlike many orchids which are nectarless, the rattlesnake orchid does produce nectar. Because of this nectar, bumblebees are one of its main pollinators. The seeds are very tiny and dispersed by the wind.

I love orchids, both wild and cultivated, and thus am always happy when I find one while hiking. The white bog orchid is another white orchid that I recently observed and commented on.

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3 Responses to Rattlesnake Orchid

  1. Pingback: Leafless Wintergreen | The Nature Niche

  2. Pingback: Rattlesnake Orchid Seed Capsules | The Nature Niche

  3. Pingback: Orchid Fungi | The Nature Niche

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