Goodyera repens (Lesser Rattlesnake Plantain)
|Also known as:
|Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain
|part shade, shade; coniferous swamps, bogs, forests; mixed forests
|July - September
|3 to 7 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Typically lose, spike-like raceme of up to 25 tiny, pubescent (hairy) irregular white flowers each about 1/8 inch across. The lower lip is globular with a lip at the end of the sack; lateral petals and sepals are white. The flowers tend to be mostly on one side of the stem.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are evergreen, mostly basal, oval to egg-shaped with a blunt point at the tip, ½ to 1¼ inches long, dark green with broad pale green to white reticulation. Several scale-like leaves are alternately attached on the single, pubescent (hairy) stem.
Minnesota's smallest Goodyera species, its range fairly concisely overlaps that of our third rattlesnake plantain, G. tesselata and can be found growing in close proximity with one another. Generaly the Lesser prefers wetter habitats, like coniferous bogs, and the Tesselated is more often found in drier upland Jackpine sites. Still both can go to the opposite extremes and hitch up to produce an occasional hybrid. Some references list 2 varieties of G. repens: var. ophioides, considered the MN species, and var. repens, more of a west coast species with no reticulation on the leaves, but there is some debate as to whether the varieties are valid.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Chippewa National Forest in Beltrami County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?