Liparis lilifolia (L.) Rich.

Lily-leaved twayblade, large twayblade, mauve sleekwort

The specific epithet lilifolia is the Latin for "lily-leaf", in reference to the apparent similarity of the leaves to those of lilies.

DESCRIPTION: Plant glabrous, 10-25 cm tall, arising from an cluster of slender roots; base of the stem swollen to form a pseudobulb. Leaves 2 (1 in sterile plants), essentially basal, elliptical to ovate-elliptical, 4-15 cm long and 2-7 cm wide. Midrib prominent, forming a keel below, leaves smooth and fleshy. Inflorescence a loose to dense, elongate raceme of madder-purple flowers, spicate, 4-25 flowered; each flower subtended by a minute lanceolate bract. Sepals linear-lanceolate, 8-11 mm long and 1-2 mm wide, yellowish-green to light green, the margins revolute. Petals linear, filiform, 8-12 mm long and about 0.3 mm wide, madder-purple; reflexed. Labellum obovate to oblong, minutely apiculate at apex, 8-13 mm long and 6-10 mm wide, colored as petals; central portion of the labellum typically thickened and darker in color, remainder of the labellum translucent.

Liparis lilifolia would most likely be confused with L. loeselii In flower, the two can be distinguished by the color of the flowers, which are only rarely green in L. lilifolia, but always green in L. loeselii. Green-flowered specimens L. lilifolia can be separated from L. loeselii by their relatively long pedicels (typically greater than 10 mm) and wider labellum and leaves. Fruiting plants of the two species can also be separated by pedicel length.

Liparis lilifolia is typically found in rich, mesic woods but also is frequently found in pine plantations. It is rarely found in dry soils. L. lilifolia seems to be a plant of early successional habitats, and it frequently undergoes population explosions in such habitats. Curtis (????) records one such population explosion in the pine planting at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. He reports that the plants declined in abundance after several years. L. lilifolia can still be found in the pines at the Arboretum, but are very uncommon.

June 15-July 5.

My observations indicate that plants rarely develop seed; apparently they require insects for pollination. Unfortunately, the pollinator(s) is unknown. The color and shape of the flowers suggest myophily, or fly pollination. Robertson (1928) observed a fly visiting L. lilifolia, but it did not effect pollination.

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