Goodyera tesselata (Tesselated Rattlesnake Plantain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain
Genus:Goodyera
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, shade; sandy coniferous or mixed forests, Jack Pine stands
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:7 to 13 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU 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] Tall and narrow, spike-like raceme of 21 to 45 moderately spaced, tiny, pubescent (hairy) white flowers each about 1/8 inch across. The lower lip is more receded with a lip extending out; lateral petals and sepals are white and spreading outward.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are evergreen, forming the season prior to bloom, mostly basal, 1 to 2½ inches long, oval to egg-shaped with a blunt tip, dull green with pale green to white reticulation. A few scale-like leaves are alternately attached on the single pubescent (hairy) stem.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is an ascending capsule, about 1/3 inch long.

Notes:

Perhaps the middle child of Minnesota's Goodyera species, its range is akin to G. repens (Lesser Rattlesnake Plantain) and so as well can be found growing in close proximity with it. The opposite of the Lesser, Tesselated gravitates strongly to drier upland sites. As children of like nature can play and occasionally produce a hybrid. Other differences between the 2 species are Lesser is a smaller plant with smaller leaves that have a more blotchy reticulation. Also note that the common name Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain is more commonly used by other references (in print and on the web), but Tesselated is the preferred common name in MN.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken along Hwy 64 in Cass County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken along Hwy 64 in Cass and Hubbard counties.

Comments

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

Posted by: Larry - Cass County
on: 2011-07-19 23:40:26

I have been seeing these in the woods for the last ten years or so, while mushroom hunting. Always wondered what they were called. Now I know.A different looking plant for sure.

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