One reason flowering Goodyera may be missed is due to the wheres and whens of their blooming. On Saturday, August 2, the plants that we saw were just coming into bloom. This is a hot time to be exploring what at this season are rather uninteresting habitats, botanically. Along with the relative lack of blooming associates in the shady woodland habitat, and heat, come plenty of biting insects. People tend to shun midsummer woodlands, thus missing this beauty.Almost all orchids have interesting flowers, at least on close inspection, and Downy Rattlesnake-plantain is no exception. Check a woods near you soon, and maybe you'll catch it.
There are an estimated 35,000 species of orchids so far described worldwide, making it the King of flowering plant families. Maybe that's why many people, myself included, get so excited when they spot one in Ohio. Only 46 native species are found in the Buckeye State, or about 0.0013 of one percent of the global total. No wonder we get a jolt when we stumble across a representative of this largely tropical group.
Last Saturday, a small group of us explored a very interesting Adams County-like prairie in western Holmes County. In the adjoining scruffy woods, we found many of the above, one of Ohio's most common orchids. Downy Rattlesnake-plantain, Goodyera pubescens, may be fairly common but it is always a treat to find, and is sure to be commented on but viewers.