Galearis spectabilis (L.) Raf.

Showy Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Galeorchis spectabilis, Orchis spectabilis

Galearis spectabilis, commonly known as Showy Orchid, is found across central and eastern Canada and the United States, from Quebec to Oklahoma. When flowering in the spring and early summer, it produces up to 15 small, conspicuous flowers with a white labellum and pink or purple sepals and petals, which curve together to form a hood over the column. A noticeable spur extends out from behind the base of the labellum. Due to its distinctive flowers and 2 basal leaves, it is unlikely to be confused with any other orchid. It is found in dry to moist forests and woodlands.

Galearis spectabilis is considered globally secure, although it is rare in several New England states and considered vulnerable in other areas.


This orchid is pollinated by many kinds of bumble bee queens including Bombus fervidus, Bombus griseocollis, Bombus impatiens, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus pensylvanicus and Bombus vagans. The lip petal has a hole at its base leading to a hollow spur with a droplet of nectar. Pollinia attach to the bees while inserting their tongues into the nectar spur. In Canada, an important pollinator is Osmia proxima, a smaller orchard bee.

Ecosystem Type

Forests, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum has a spur
Labellum length:
10–18 mm
Sepal length:
10–20 mm
Plant height:
5–35 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 Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status Secure

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data