Malaxis unifolia (Green Adder's-mouth)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; coniferous bogs and swamps, open upland woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||4 to 11 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Typically a thimble sized club or cylindrical raceme of up to 84 irregular green flowers less than 1/8 inch long, on slender stalks up to 3/8 inch long. The lower lip is divided into 2 lobes; 3 upper sepals spread out, with 2 thread-like lateral petals. Flowers stalks are twisted with flowers sometimes held sideways.
Leaves and stem:
A single leaf is attached at about mid-stem, egg-shaped to elliptical with a blunt or pointed tip, 1 to 3 inches long, ½ to 1½ inches wide, sheathing the stem. The stem is smooth with another sheath at the base.
Another one of our midget orchids, Green Adder's-mouth may be more common in southern areas of the state than records indicate, but color and stature make it a difficult observation. While there are other orchid species with a single leaf, and some with leaves attached just at mid-stem, Green Adder's-mouth and the related White Adder's-mouth (Malaxis monophyllos) are the only ones in Minnesota with a single leaf that's not basal. When flowering, the cylindrical cluster of relatively long-stalked flowers is unique among Minnesota's orchids and distinguishes Green Adder's-mouth from the rest.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at a private wet meadow/woodlot in Lino Lakes, and in Hubbard County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?