Downy rattlesnake plantain is native to eastern North America. The name reflects the snakeskin-like
network of silvery white lines that make the leaves resemble the scales of a snake.
It prefers dry woods and
mildly acidic soils. Technically, these are orchids, not plantains.
Plants: 8-16" (20-40 cm), woolly, evergreen. It spreads
via stolons, rootlike runners. It is often nestled in moss.
Leaves: Leaves are basal, rarely more than half an inch above the
ground, and oval or narrowly oval, 1¼-2½" (3.2-6.3 cm).
They are dark green, with a broad white central stripe and a distinctive network of white veins.
Flowers: On cylindrical spikes, 2½-4" (6.3-10 cm) tall. (The entire
plant is up to 16" (40 cm) tall.) Each flower
is ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm) in size. Flowers appear May-September, mostly in late July.
8/16/2020 · Long Reach Preserve, Harpswell, Maine ≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)
I was saddened to see that a small patch of these delicate plants, which I have visited many times, was carelessly uprooted by a hiker. · 8/17/2019 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Wildflower Trail, Hollis, New Hampshire ≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)
8/27/2016 · Williams Barn and Sørhaug Woods, Groton, Massachusetts