Orchids: Checkered Rattlesnake-plantain

Photo of Checkered Rattlesnake-plantain flowers

In late July, Jenny and I attended our first mushroom foray with the Maine Mycological Association. The event was held in a section of the Massabesic Experimental Forest in Alfred -- a large forest tract that we'd not visited before. After the foray, Jenny and I went off to explore another part of the forest where we ventured down a trail that offered views of a community of Atlantic White Cedars (Chamaecyparis thyoides).

Along the way, we noticed a type of Rattlesnake-plantain (Goodyera sp.) starting to bloom. Initially, we suspected we'd found Downy Rattlesnake-plantain (G. pubescens), a plant we've seen in previous years, but a closer look made us think again. The leaves of pubescens have noticeably white mid-ribs and are darker green, and the flowers are more densely clustered. It turns out we'd located a new-to-us species called Checkered Rattlesnake-plantain (Goodyera tesselata) who I later identified using Newcomb's Wildflower Guide and Go Botany's simple key to New England Orchids. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)

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