Goodyera pubescens (Downy Rattlesnake Plantain)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; dry to average moisture, oak-birch-aspen or pine forests|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||9 to 14 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: none MW: FAC NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A dense, cylindrical spike-like raceme of 28-52 tiny, densely pubescent (hairy) pearly white flowers. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch long, the lower lip is globular with a lip at the end of the sack. Lateral petals are white; sepals have a greenish surface.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are evergreen and mostly basal, dark green with fine silvery white reticulation and a thick stripe along each side of the midrib, oval to egg-shaped with a dull point, 1½ to 3½ inches long. There are also several scale-like leaves alternately attached on the densely pubescent (hairy) stem.
A close up of this flower, it appears to be perpetually in song. I can hear its singing when I step into its garden. Of Minnesota's three Goodyera species, this has the most southeasterly range both in Minnesota and nationally, and it overlaps the other species' ranges in Cass and Aitkin Counties. It is the largest of the Rattlesnake Plantains in MN but is most easily distinguished by the fine white veining on the leaves and broad stripe along the midrib. The other 2 species have thick veining and/or no center stripe.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken along Hwy 64 in Hubbard County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?