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Article: Visiting My Garden's Wild Country Cousins: unidentified plan with lovely foliage

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Forum: Article: Visiting My Garden's Wild Country CousinsReplies: 6, Views: 54
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Denton, MD

May 17, 2010
8:52 AM

Post #7800496

maybe rattlesnake plantain?


Miami, FL
(Zone 10b)

May 17, 2010
10:08 AM

Post #7800756

It looks to me more like a terrestrial orchid in the jewel orchid family. I will do some research and hopefully have a tentative ID for you.

This message was edited May 17, 2010 1:14 PM


Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
10:16 AM

Post #7800790

Great! I'm glad to have other wildflower enthusiasts on board!
Fargo, ND
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2010
12:50 PM

Post #7801256

It appears that sandski and Roly are both right. Rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubscens) is a member of the orchid family. The flower stalk rises from the basal rosette of white-veined leaves. The flowers themselves are small (1/4 inch), whitish to greenish with a bunch of then around the top of the stalk. It is said they can get up to 18 inches tall although the ones I have seen in the wild (WI, NC) have been half that. The species I listed is widespread east of the Mississippi, but like all wild orchids, never really that common. The flower itself doesn't attract much interest from gardeners, however the leaves have at times made it popular in terrariums. Many states have laws protecting native orchids from being dug on public lands so unless you can verify nursery propagated stock, I would recommend taking the picture and leaving it where it is.


Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
12:56 PM

Post #7801267

Thanks for the information! Our family strictly adheres to the Boy Scout "Leave No Trace" philosophy:
Take nothing but pictures,
Leave nothing but footprints,
Kill nothing but time.

I want to leave the natural areas beautiful for everyone to enjoy, and hopefully share the beauty with others through photography.

Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

May 17, 2010
2:19 PM

Post #7801501

I'm a relatively new member of DG and am constantly amazed at the breadth of the articles and the horticultural knowledge of the members. Angie, I am particularly taken by your "Leave No Trace" policy. Would that everyone espoused this wherever they went. I love plants but also sea life and just about want to go mad when I seem folks stand on top of coral to look at the fish below, even though they've got masks and snorkels to begin with. I am quite sure your children wouldn't make that error! Thanks for the article and the reminder of the stewardship we all have of the planet we occupy.


Mackinaw, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 17, 2010
3:44 PM

Post #7801752

I think sometimes people just need to be reminded of the fragility of the balance of nature. It seems it takes so little to do so much long-lasting damage! Then again, I am constantly amazed at the ability of nature to restore itself. Just seeing the plants coming back after an area has been burned is testament to the resiliency of life!

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