Neottia bifolia (Raf.) ined.

Southern Twayblade

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Listera australis

Neottia bifolia, also called Southern Twayblade, is distributed across the eastern United States and Canada, from Florida to Quebec, and around the southern Gulf Coast states to Texas. It has a purple-green stem and produces two (or rarely three) opposite leaves, generally ovate in shape. When in flower, it produces up to 25 red-purple or slightly greenish flowers, with an elongated, linear labellum that forks into two distinct lobes; the ends of the lobes taper into points. The stalks of the flowers are covered in thin hairs, as is the upper part of the main stem. It is found in fens and hummocks, moist woods, bogs, and marshes, generally favoring full to partial sun.

Neottia bifolia is globally considered to be secure, but is critically imperiled in several of its more western states and provinces. It can easily be distinguished from other orchid species by its distinctively elongated and forked labellum.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, fens, marshes, swamps, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • two
  • three
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • blue to purple
  • green to brown
  • pink to red
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
6–12 mm
Sepal length:
Up to 1.5 mm
Plant height:
Up to 20 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status May Be At Risk

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data