Liparis liliifolia (Lily-leaved Twayblade)

Plant Info
Also known as: Brown Widelip Orchid, Large Twayblade, Purple Twayblade, Mauve Sleekwort
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; rich mature woods, pine plantations
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:3 to 10 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] A raceme of 6 to 24 pale purple (in bright light of day) to brownish flowers, about 5/8 inch long, on a purpling ovary and flower stalk. The lower lip is broadly triangular and attended by 2 hanging, purple thread-like lateral petals. The 3 sepals are greenish yellow and slender; the upper is extended back, the lower two extended out below. The column is a little green nose rising at the top.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] There are 2 basal leaves, oval-elliptic, gently pointed, 1½ to 9 inches long, up to 3¼ inches wide, shiny on the upper surface, and sheathing lower stem. Leaves and stem are hairless. The stem is angled.


Leaves could be confused with Galearis spectabilis (Showy Orchis), whose range it overlaps and habitats can closely resemble each other, but L. lilifolia prefers more acidic soils and a more open canopy, and the flowers have no resemblance.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at Pine Bend Bluffs SNA though also found near the City of Blaine water tower


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Steve - Eagan
on: 2012-05-19 16:36:31

My wife found this in our woody backyard today. We were hauling branches from a downed tree on a path and she spotted it. It seems to have survived the brush with death. The area is sparse small aspen (1") and box elder. Mostly thinny growing brome and other non-native plants in the surrounding area. The plant was a half a foot off a well used deer trail.

Posted by: Sue - Woodbury
on: 2012-06-13 09:40:10

Found about 5 or 6 of these in a small everygreen grove on our property.

Posted by: Anthony - Renville County
on: 2014-07-15 03:52:04

Found in an old granite quarry in Renville County

Posted by: Susan - Grant, Washington County
on: 2014-11-02 04:56:33

Last June I spotted 2 of these orchids in our yard on a west facing hillside, near a 25 yr old white pine. In dappled sunlight. Just now, found out the name. Thank you

Posted by: Nancy - Vadnais Heights, Ramsey county
on: 2015-06-07 19:30:02

I was clearing buckthorn from the back of our property and found this unusual orchid. How exciting! I took a photo and was able to locate like pictures online to identify it.

Posted by: Jackie - Westlakeland, Washington County
on: 2015-06-16 22:20:10

While cleaning a semi shaded area on the edge of the wood, I found a large patch of this beautiful orchid!

Posted by: Janet - Woodbury Minnesota
on: 2015-06-23 15:54:03

Found two plants in our garden - did the research to find the correct name . Twayblade

Posted by: Susan - Fillmore County
on: 2015-06-28 19:51:45

Many of these lovely orchids found in an old field turned old Christmas tree planting. Many in flower the last week of June.

Posted by: Steve - Mower county
on: 2016-05-29 08:11:21

I found Liparis liliifolia blooming on our farm in Mower county today (5-28-2016) in a place that was a corn field 15 years ago.

Posted by: Alexis - Carpenter Nature Center, Washington County MN
on: 2016-06-12 22:03:52

We saw several of these in bloom today (6/12/16) while on a Minnesota Native Plant Society field trip. Some were right near the hiking trail.

Posted by: Patrick - Lake Elmo, Washington County
on: 2016-06-14 07:22:28

I have several of these in a 17 year old 2 acre restoration on my property. I did not plant them. This is a tall grass restoration, no trees. They are very hard to spot.

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