ghost orchid

Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid (Pogonia ophioglossoides)

Part of the Florida's Native and Naturalized Orchids Website

Classification:
  Kingdom:   Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom:   Tracheobionta - Vascular Plants
      Superdivision:   Spermatophyta - Seed plants
        Division:   Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
          Class:   Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
            Subclass:   Liliidae - Subclass containing lily and orchid relatives
              Order:   Orchidales - Orchid order
                Family:   Orchidaceae - Orchid Family
                  Subfamily:   Vanilloideae - Vanilloids
                    Tribe:   Pogonieae - Pogonia Tribe
                      Subtribe:   Pogoniinae - Pogonia Subtribe


Distribution Map:
Distribution map for Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid (Pogonia ophioglossoides)
Description:
Summary: These terrestrial plants consist of a single stem with a single fleshy leaf midway up the stem and a bract just beneath the flower. Seedlings will just bear one leaf atop their stems. The flowers range in color from white to magenta, but are typically a medium pink color. Size is typically 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) across. The sepals spread widely, but the petals tend to remain relatively close to the lip. The lip is rather bristled with three green crests running along the middle. Flowers sometimes have a raspberry-like fragrance.

Common Name: Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid

Habitat: terrestrial inhabitant of wet, open pinelands; acid bogs; and wet roadsides.

Flowering season: April through May

Images:
 
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid) - single flower
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid) - single flower
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia Orchid) - Medium Pink Flower
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia Orchid) - Medium Pink Flower
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia Orchid) - Double Flower
Pogonia ophioglossoides (Rose Pogonia Orchid) - Double Flower
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides) - Three-flowered plant
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides) - Three-flowered plant
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides) - Colony
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides) - Colony
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides fma. alba) - white form
Rose Pogonia/Snakemouth (Pogonia ophioglossoides fma. alba) - white form
Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides)
Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides)

Description:
 

This is one of the few orchid species in North America with a very wide temperature range, being found from the quaking bogs of southern Canada to the northern edge of the Everglades. Three other species--Calopogon tuberosus, Platanthera ciliaris and Platanthera blephariglottis--also perform similar feats of temperature tolerance.

Although many texts list this species as reasonably common, I have encountered it with relative infrequency in the wild. Perhaps this is due to its intolerance of dryness, as it is certainly one of the more 'wet-footed' of the sun-loving bog orchids. When it is encountered, it tends to be in small-to-medium-sized colonies owing to the plant's ability to send out new offshoots from along its spreading roots, as well as reproducing via seed. This allows the plants to form colonies relatively rapidly before they might succumb to the next extended dry spell.

Plants consist of a single stem with a partially clasping leaf roughly halfway up the stem and a floral bract just beneath the flower. In plants of the regular pink form, the base of the stem is often suffused with purple. Seedlings of this plant consist of a single leaf atop a stem, which bears a passing resemblance to Adder's-tongue ferns of the genus Ophioglossum, hence the specific name ophiogloss-oides which means "resembling Ophioglossum".

Although one flower is typically borne per stem, more robust individuals can bear two and even three flowers. The flowers are sometimes scented lightly of raspberry.

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