Goodyera tesselata Lodd.
Tesselated rattlesnake plantain, Loddiges' rattlesnake plantain
The specific epithet tesselata is from the Latin meaning "checkered"
or "mosaic-like," and refers to the checkered venation of the
Photo courtesy of Mark Larocque
DESCRIPTION: Plant pubescent above
the leaves, 12-35 cm tall (including inflorescence), arising from a rhizome
supported by a cluster of slightly fleshy, fibrous roots. Leaves
4-8, forming a basal rosette, petiolate, oblong-elliptical to elliptical-lanceolate,
3-9 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide, light green with a prominent network of reticulate
white markings. Inflorescence a downy, dense to lax, spicate, secund
to loosely cylindrical raceme 12-35 cm tall, 12-35 flowered, each flower
subtended by a small, lanceolate bract. Sepals oblong-lanceolate
to ovate-lanceolate, concave, 4-7 mm long and 3-4 mm wide, white and smooth
inside, the outer surfaces pubescent, lateral sepals typically smaller than
dorsal sepal and slightly spreading; dorsal sepal connivent with petals
to form a hood over the column. Petals oblong or spatulate, 3.5-6
mm long and about 2-2.5 mm wide, closely appressed to the dorsal sepal,
white. Labellum concave-shallowly saccate, the apex prolonged into
an blunt point (looking somewhat like a spout), 4-7 mm long and 3-4 mm wide,
SIMILAR SPECIES: Goodyera tesselata can easily be confused with
G. pubescens or G.
repens var. ophioides. G. tesselata can be separated
from G. pubescens by the labellum,
which is concave in G. tesselata, but is deeply globular-saccate
in G. pubescens. Also, the leaves of
G. tesselata are smaller than those of G.
pubescens, and typically lack the thick white central vein of G.
pubescens. G. tesselata can be separated from G.
repens var. ophioides by overall size, with G. tesselata
being generally larger. Distinguishing between these two taxa can be very
difficult, however. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that G. tesselata
frequently hybridizes with G. repens var. ophioides.
HABITAT: Typically found growing in upland coniferous or mixed deciduous/coniferous
forest. I have frequently found it growing in duff under Thuja or
Picea, on steep, thin-soiled slopes in the northern part of Wisconsin.
FLOWERING DATES: July 20-August 25.
POLLINATION: Kallunki (1981)
believes that Goodyera tesselata is pollinated by bumblebees.
DISCUSSION: A study of this species by J.
Kallunki (1976) indicated that it is most likely of hybrid origin. It
is a tetraploid species, and probably arose as a fertile tetraploid hybrid
of two diploid species, namely G. repens and G. oblongifolia.
For a more detailed discussion, see Kallunki's paper.
WI DISTRIBUTION: U.S. DISTRIBUTION:
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