Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Lesser rattlesnake-plantain
Goodyera repens
Family: Orchidaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2

Dry to mesic forests.

Species Description:
Northern rattlesnake-plantain is an herbaceous perennial with unbranched stems that are 1-2 dm high and which arise from extensive rhizomes. The mostly basal leaves have a broad petiole that is 5-15 mm long and an elliptic blade that is 15-30 cm long. The leaves are dark green, and the stem is glandular above. Sessile flowers are borne on one side of the upper stem. The white to pale green flowers consist of a hood-like upper petal that is 3-4 mm long and of a pouched lower petal that is ca 2 mm deep and has a sepal on each side. The corolla arises from the top of the oblong ovary. The club-shaped, many-seeded capsule is ca 1 cm long.

Flowering Period: Early July to late August.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
Leaves lack the white midvein stripe that is characteristic of the common Goodyera. Flower are 1-sided racemes, not symmetrical.

Grazing or browsing pressure, vegetation/timber removal, or hydrologic changes (i.e. stream alterations road construction) would be detrimental. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species and should be removed. Avoid creating access to the site through trail or road construction.

Global Range:
Circumboreal south in N. America to NC, TN, SD, NM, AZ, and BC. Sparse.

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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