Listera cordata (Heart-leaved Twayblade)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||shade; damp, mossy coniferous or mixed forests, bogs, swamps|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||4 to 13 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Tall, slender raceme of 6-21 tiny (1/8 to ¼ inch top to bottom), star/badge shaped flowers, greenish to more commonly reddish purple, on top of globe-like ovaries. 3 sepals and 2 petals are evenly arrayed star-like around the column, similar in color and oval shape though petals are a richer color in darker pigmented flowers. The lower lip is deeply forked like a snake's tongue.
Leaves and stem:
There are 2 heart-shaped opposite leaves, 3/8 to 1½ inches long, 3/8 to 1¼ inches wide, hairless and stalkless, about half way down stem. The stem is covered in glandular hairs above the leaves and smooth below.
Please watch your step for this tiny bit of a plant in Nature's garden. Even the most conscientious tree hugger cannot but sometimes walk all over those they would love the most. Similar species are L. auriculata (Auricled Twayblade) and L. convallarioides (Broad-leaved Twayblade). On both, the lower lip on the flowers is broader and notched but not deeply cleft, petals and sepals are reflexed away from the column, and the leaves are more oval-elliptic.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at a SNA in north-central Minnesota
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?