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Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Downy Rattlesnake Orchid, Adder’s Violet, Net-leaf Plantain - Goodyera pubescens


Family: Orchidaceae – Orchid family Genus Common Name: Rattlesnake Plantain Native Status: Native
Goodyera pubescens - Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Downy Rattlesnake Orchid, Adder’s Violet, Net-leaf Plantain. Downy Rattlesnake Plantain is one of the most commonly found orchids in the eastern United States, and is also one of the most widely distributed, being found in 31 states and in the eastern half of Canada. It is, however, Endangered in Florida at the southern end of its range, and is protected in New York as well.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

Distribution of Goodyera pubescens in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 Apr 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-14Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron AP AF 90MM Macro
The greenish-white flowers of Downy Rattlesnake Plantain are carried in a cylindrical raceme at the top of a bracted scape.
Goodyera pubescens

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
I think the unopened flower looks like a (glandular) hairy cartoon face. The flowers are about 1/4" across.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Goodyera pubescens

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The scape of Goodyera pubescens is up to about 18” tall, and supports an inflorescence of small greenish-white flowers. The inflorescence is not one-sided, as is the case with some other orchid species.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Goodyera pubescens

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The veining in the basal rosette of the leaves provide "Net-leaf," common name, and the shape of the leaves inspired the "Plantain" part of the common name. The leaves are evergreen, so it's easy to spot the plants in winter when most of the surrounding forest undergrowth is gone.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Goodyera pubescens

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2011-October-18Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Scapes with seeds remain in winter. Identification is made easier because these scapes will be rising from the basal rosette of evergreen leaves. I suspect the "Rattlesnake" (and likely "Adder's") parts of some of the common names come from this stage in the plant cycle.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Goodyera pubescens

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The scape is glandular hairy with several lanceolate bracts up to about 2” long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Goodyera pubescens

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2014
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer