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Rattlesnake Orchid

Downy Rattlesnake Orchid
Downy Rattlesnake Orchid

Last week I came across this sweet looking Orchid in Allegany State Park and just knew this was something special. Our first investigation made us believe it was the Checkered Rattlesnake Orchid but a few of the leaves on the plant and the flower alignment were off some . . . . just maybe this is a Dwarf Rattlesnake Orchid?? I sent an email to our State Park Botanist.

Downy Rattlesnake Orchid flowers
The “Flowers”

Kim stated that “I’m pretty sure this is the Downy Rattlesnake Orchid (Goodyera pubescens). This link to the Connecticut Botanical Society has some good photos and description, as well as a comparison with the Checkered Rattlesnake Orchid. Check out the white stripe down the center of the leaves, and the dense, cylindrical inflorescence (downy) compared to no stripe on the leaves and a looser, spiralling inflorescence (checkered).”

Downy Rattlesnake Orchid Leaves
The Leaves up close!

This is a SWEET finding such a cool wildflower!

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26 responses

  1. Gorgeous!! And lucky you for finding it!

    27 August 2008 at 6:57 am

  2. Wow… yes nice flower but gosh the leaves look stunning 😀

    27 August 2008 at 7:50 am

  3. Definitely not one I would have seen, or known was rare had I seen it. Cool find, Tom!

    27 August 2008 at 8:59 am

  4. That is a lovely orchid. The leaves are so pretty — I love variegated foliage. Wild orchids are amazing finds. Yay!

    27 August 2008 at 9:10 am

  5. Sherri Friesman

    That’s an exciting find – and it’s a really beautiful little plant!

    27 August 2008 at 9:54 am

  6. It’s so pretty it doesn’t look natural–like someone bred it in a greenhouse.

    27 August 2008 at 9:54 am

  7. It is so fun to run across a forest treasure such as this.

    27 August 2008 at 11:21 am

  8. I love all those tiny orchid faces! What an amazing find. Do you see them often?

    27 August 2008 at 1:36 pm

  9. Very neat find. You never know what you will come across when you take a walk in the woods. It is constantly changing and there is never a dull moment.

    27 August 2008 at 4:31 pm

  10. What a funky plant!

    27 August 2008 at 4:34 pm

  11. This is an awesome find, Tom!!! I would love to come across this in the woods!

    27 August 2008 at 5:23 pm

  12. Lisa at Greenbow

    Oh my gosh Mon@rch, what a find. You are finding all sorts of treasures lately. There is a book named ‘Orchids of Indiana’. I have always wanted to try to find each orchid. Most are in northern IN, at least all of the really rare ones. Maybe one of these days I will.

    27 August 2008 at 8:04 pm

  13. That is a sweet find, congrats. I definitely have to get over there to the ASP. Yet another pin in my “to go” map!

    27 August 2008 at 9:25 pm

  14. Wow! That is beautiful! So delicate! How exciting for you to find such a wonderful wildflower!

    27 August 2008 at 9:36 pm

  15. It’s beautiful! So different than most other orchids I’ve seen.

    27 August 2008 at 11:21 pm

  16. Very nice shot of the flower stalk! How lucky to find one still in bloom this late in the season. We have a patch of them growing in the deep shade of our woods. I felt like I found a little treasure when I discovered them at the edge of the path.

    28 August 2008 at 10:21 am

  17. Mel

    How beautiful! Nice finding!
    The flowers are so delicate!

    30 August 2008 at 11:48 am

  18. Marg

    What a great find-Congrats!

    1 September 2008 at 8:34 am

  19. Lovely! I’ve seen the leaves of Rattlesnake Orchids (not sure which exact species we have here), but never the blooms. Great find!

    3 September 2008 at 11:16 am

  20. Hey Tom,
    Remember me? That is an awesome find. Amazing how many orchids are wild.

    4 September 2008 at 2:02 am

  21. That’s a gorgeous orchid Mon@rch! How lucky for you to find a plant like this growing in the wild! I found a yellow ladyslipper once years ago, but always dream of chancing upon an orchid of any type when I’m out exploring the woods.

    5 September 2008 at 8:13 am

  22. Moe


    6 September 2008 at 5:16 pm

  23. Beautiful.
    So difficult to take photos that do justice to the intricacies and form of an orchid like this.

    Nice article. Great blog.

    8 September 2008 at 4:16 pm

  24. amber

    awesome i love flowers!!!

    11 September 2008 at 10:27 pm

  25. WOW!!!!!! Would you believe that I spent all day yesterday looking for this orchid in north Florida? It is the only Googyera species we have and it still eludes me. All I got was filthy, soaked, and worn out climbing up and down ravines looking for isolated patches of forests not often visited. You can see my wild orchid photos at

    What was the environment like where you found this one?

    17 November 2008 at 4:59 pm

  26. HD'98

    Great pics!! I found some species of this orchid here in eastern WA state. No idea what it was until I saw your pics and began exploring further.

    15 August 2011 at 1:02 pm

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