To be precise, they are Downy Rattlesnake Plantains-Goodyera pubescens and are members of the Orchidaceae. They are just now beginning to flower. Even though they are woodland plants they don’t need to take advantage of the vernal open canopy. The flowering can continue right through September and they bear resemblance to Ladies’ Tresses-Spiranthes sp. As with the Noble Princes’-pine, I’ve been obsessing over getting some shots with a few, at least, of the flowers opened so have also made several trips to North Quabbin. Yesterday was reasonably successful.
Again, I was fortunate that the sun was hitting the flower spike while the background was mostly in shadow…my corpulent self finished the job.
Why plantain? I guess that’s because the flower spike and basal rosette resemble that plant.
And why, asked Linda, rattlesnake? The leaves’ pattern and venation to some eyes resemble rattlesnake skin.
The leaves are evergreen and can be found in winter as with the Noble Prince’s-pine and related wintergreens. In case you didn’t notice in the first shot, the flowers are covered in fine hairs giving them a downy appearance. For uses, one site lists the following: “A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of pleurisy and snakebites. A tea made from the leaves is taken to improve the appetite, as a treatment for colds, kidney ailments, rheumatism and toothaches. Externally, a poultice of the wilted leaves is used to cool burns, treat skin ulcers and relieve rheumatic joints. An ooze from the plant (this probably means the sap or the juice of the bulb) has been used as eye drops to treat sore eyes.”
I would still like to get a close up of one opened flower so will continue my pursuit. I did make a few yesterday but they are not publishable.
I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.