rattlesnake plantain

Here’s a find on the forest floor: rattlesnake plantain orchid, Goodyera pubescens, in fruit. The stem and fruits, dried and brown, blend into the background. But the variegated leaves, snug against the forest floor, continue to photosynthesize all winter long. The orchids form a huge family, and most oft hem are tropical epiphytes, living high in the branches of rainforest trees. Here in the temperate zone the orchids are all terrestrial. Orchids are prized for their beautiful flowers. The Vanilla genus  is the source of vanilla flavoring.


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