Goodyera pubescens (Willd.) R. Br.
Downy Rattlesnake Plantain
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
Synonym(s): Peramium pubescens
USDA Symbol: GOPU
A cylindrical cluster of many small, white, round flowers atop a leafless, woolly stalk rising from a rosette of dark blue-green, white-veined leaves.
The highly decorative leaves of this plant are most unusual and often collected for terraria, a practice to be discouraged. A smaller species, Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain (G. repens), has flowers less than 1/4" (6 mm) long on only one side of the flowering stalk. Two species found in Canada and the northern states are Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain (G. tesselata), which has dull green leaves mottled with paler lines, and Greenleaf Rattlesnake Plantain (G. oblongifolia), which has leaves usually with only one main white vein. The common names refer to the mottled leaves, which resemble a snake's skin, a similarity that once suggested their use as a snakebite remedy.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 14 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Sometimes tinged green or brown.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario east to New Brunswick, south to Florida, west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and north through Missouri to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Dry or moist, deciduous or coniferous woods and well-drained wooded slopes.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Goodyera pubescens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Goodyera pubescens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Goodyera pubescens
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-25
Research By: TWC Staff