Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rattlesnake Plantain

The Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens) is one of North Carolina's native orchids.  During a field trip with my Fern class on Friday, we came across this one in Pisgah National Forest.  Have you seen these?  I hadn't, so I thought it was pretty exciting.

Rattlesnake Plantain has basal leaves with white veins which are evergreen.  The white-flowered spikes of orchid flowers show up in July.  You can find them in the moist leaf litter of mountain slopes up to about 4,000 feet of altitude.  (This picture was taken at about 3,500 feet.)

The name rattlesnake may come from the sound the fruits make when the flower spike is shaken or thumped.  Native Americans used the plant for snake bite.   (Wildflowers of the Southern Appalachians, Kevin Adams and Marty Casstevens, 1996)


  1. Have seen this in the book, but not in person! How cool. Good find!

  2. Not sure which I like more, the foliage, the flowers of its name.