Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia)

Plant Info
Also known as: Snake-mouth Orchid, Adder's-mouth Pogonia
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; coniferous bogs, swamps, peatlands, wet meadows, open woods
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:6 to 18 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
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

[photo of flower] Delicate single (rarely 2) irregular rose to hot pink flower 1 to 2 inches across atop a slender stalk. Sepals are petal-like, an upper sepal stands erect at the top, 2 petals—sometimes with darker pink veination—form a hood above, 2 lateral sepals open out to the sides. The lavish lower lip is unlobed but ornate with pink fringes and a yellow and white bearded throat. A leaf-like bract is at the base of the ovary behind the flower.

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

[photo of leaf] A single leaf, typically about halfway up stem, 1½ to 4 inches long, up to ¾ inch wide, elliptical with a pointed tip, sheathing the smooth stem. Sometimes a second, long-stalked leaf is at the base of the plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is an erect capsule up to 1 inch long.


A seductive snake's mouth indeed or just a toothy smile, this orchid's delightful appearance is always a cheerful event. It also keeps good companions.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Savanna Portage State Park, the Red Lake peatlands above Washkish, and the Okefenokee Swamp in Florida


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

Posted by: greg - Bagley
on: 2015-07-18 16:55:59

I like the small orchids of Minnesota and spend time looking for them. Over the last 40 years. I used to be able to find Calypso in certain places. Now it doesn't seem to be there anymore. White Cedar bogs is where I find them. When is the flowering time for them around Waskish? I also have found several groups of Rose Pagonia that are all white. I saw in an old flowering plant taxonomy book that this is a forma alba of the plant. How rare is this?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-07-19 11:02:27

Greg, we don't track phenology of any species in specific locations, so what you see for the general bloom months is your place to start, keeping in mind the more southern counties will likely have earlier bloom times than the northern.

Many species also have "forms" that are not considered varieties or subspecies, and we also do not track this information. Having said that, over the years we have seen many species that are typically in the pink to purple to blue range that have the odd plant with all white flowers. It's actually pretty common across species, though uncommon for any one particular species. Albino plants are not unheard of, either.

Posted by: John Lawrey - Divde Lake Bog Walk, Lake County
on: 2020-07-17 09:28:29

Blooming near the edge nearest the lake. A wonderful boardwalk has been provided to see the many special flowers. Thanks so much for providing this website as it was very helpful in identifying this flower.

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