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Arethusa bulbosa (Dragon's mouth)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Arethusa bulbosa

Arethusa bulbosa L.

Dragon's Mouth, Swamp Pink

Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

A smooth stalk bearing 1-3 long, tubular, sheathing, nearly bladeless leaves and topped by 1 bright pink, fragrant flower.

Named for the fountain nymph Arethusa, the flower suggests an animal's open mouth. Its unusual lip petal serves as a platform for insects, especially bumblebees, that enter the flower for nectar and pick up the powdery pollen masses as they leave. (Niering)


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Rarely white or bluish.


USA: CT , DC , DE , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , VA , VT , WI
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Saskatchewan east to Newfoundland, south to South Carolina, and north and northwest to Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Bogs, swamps, and wet meadows.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Wet


Use Wildlife: Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Arethusa bulbosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Arethusa bulbosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Arethusa bulbosa


Record Modified: 2023-04-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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