Lily-like Leaves )
Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)
Habitat: Montane to Subalpine Moist Areas
Height: Up to 20 cm
Description: This orchid tends to blend in with its surroundings, lacking any great colour splash. Like all orchids, they make for a pleasant discovery with its tight spike of tiny green orchid flowers.
Flower: Bracted orchid flowers are inconspicuous, often hidden within the green leaves and bracts that make up the remainder of the plant. The flowers occur in a dense terminal spike (raceme). The bracts are narrow (lanceolate) and several times the size of the flower. They ascent up the plant in a spiral. The greenish-yellow flower has three egg-shaped sepals that form a hood over flower. There is also a 6-10 mm, wedge-shaped descending lip with 2 or 3 notches at its tip. There is a s short spur that usually remains hidden behind the lip.
Leaf: The broadly lanceolate, alternat leaves sheath the stem at their base, and are 4-15 cm long and 1-6 cm wide. They have a smooth margin, prominent centre fold.
Fruit/Seed: Erect, elliptical capsule 12 mm long.
Similar Species: Several rein-orchids are similar, but the distinctive square tip to the toothed lip of this flower distinguishes it from all others.
Range: Bracted orchids are circumpolar and can be found in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, throughout parts of British Columbia, most of Alberta and east to Newfoundland. Its range extends south to New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Notes: The eastern Ojibwa Indians used this plant as a love charm and would sometimes slip some of the root into someone elses food as an aphrodisiac. The Iroquois used a decoction of the plant to help bring away the placenta after childbirth.
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