Amerorchis rotundifolia (Small Round-leaved Orchid)

Plant Info
Also known as: Round-leaved Orchis
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; coniferous swamps, peat bogs, fens
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:8 to 14 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] A slender smooth raceme of 4 to 18 irregular flowers each ½ to ¾ inch wide and high, on the ends of ½ inch green ovaries with a single bract up to ¾ inch long. The upper lip is a pinkish hood. The lower lip is white with purple spots and 3-lobed, with the middle lobe largest and notched at the tip. 2 petal-like white sepals spread out at the sides with a third over the hood. A curving spur hangs down at the back. A very cheerful and merry clown-like flower with a pink hood, white drapped side arms and purple polka-dot pantaloons on.

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

[photo of leaf] A single basal leaf 2 to 6 inches long, ¾ to 3½ inches wide, generally oval to elliptic, toothless, hairless, and blunted at the tip. The single flowering stem is smooth and green.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is an erect capsule, ½ to ¾ inch long.


An exciting wildflower to come upon, it is not so rare but its habitat is rarely visited. Common on the large peatlands of northwest and north-central Minnesota it is also a denizen of dark coniferous bogs of the NE. In some references, this species goes by synonym Galearis rotundifolia.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken on SNA lands in Cass County


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

Posted by: Harvey - Beltrami County
on: 2013-07-02 20:15:53

We found many small patches of small round-leaved orchids in full bloom in a mature tamarack stand south of Blackduck on July 2, 2013.

Posted by: Frances - Rochester
on: 2016-03-23 07:25:05

thx this helped me...😃

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