A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia)

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South Puyallup Trail, Mt Rainier National Park, WA, 7/2015.

This member of the orchid family is common in conifer woodlands across the west and northwest.  Notable more for the striped, leathery foliage, than the spike of white, waxy blooms which are rarely found in pristine condition. Without the flowers, it’d be easy to confuse the leaves for those of White-Veined Wintergreen (note the leaves here have a more pronounced stripe, and less noticeable veins).

Pojar & Mackinnon (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast) report that early settlers thought because the leaves resemble rattlesnake skin, the plant could be used to treat snake bites.  They also note that coastal tribes used the plants as good luck charms, while their children inflated the leaves (blowing through the stem) like a balloon.

The genus is named after English botanist John Goodyer (1592-1664).

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Redwood National Park, CA, 8/2014.

 

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