Goodyera oblongifolia Raf.

Giant Rattlesnake Plantain, Menzies' Rattlesnake Plantain, Western Rattlesnake Plantain

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Goodyera decipiens

Goodyera oblongifolia, commonly called Giant Rattlesnake Plantain, is a wide-spread orchid with a disjunct distribution in the northeastern United States and Canada, southeast Alaska, the Great Lakes region, and in the western United States, and Mexico. It produces 3 to 7 blue-green basal leaves which form a rosette, and have a prominent white stripe down the middle. When flowering in late summer or early fall, up to 48 white (sometimes greenish) flowers form a spiraled inflorescence. The labellum forms a concave, bowl-like pouch, while the petals form a hood over the column. It is found in forests and woodlands, often in mixed coniferous forests. The central white stripe on leaves distinguishes this orchid from Goodyera tesselata.

Goodyera oblongifolia is considered globally secure, although it may be rare in parts of New England where timber harvesting is a primary threat.


Bumblebees, such as, Bombus mixtus, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus vagans and Bombus vosnesenskii are important pollinators of this orchid as they search for nectar. Bees usually work their way from the bottom to the top of a flower spike because flowers at the base of the spike mature first and produce nectar. These flowers have exposed stigmas and pollen can be easily transferred from the bees’ proboscis as it probes for nectar. Flowers on the same spike nearer the top produce less nectar and the stigma is not accessible for pollination. Pollen can still be attached to the proboscis and as the bee gathers nectar from an open flower on another plant, pollen is deposited on the stigma its pollen load, cross-pollinating the flower.

Ecosystem Type

Cliffs balds or ledges, floodplains, forests, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a spike
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is saccate
Labellum length:
4.9–7.9 mm
Sepal length:
5.7–7.8 mm
Plant height:
Up to 45 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