Malaxis spicata Sw.

Florida Adder's Mouth

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Malaxis floridana, Microstylis floridana

Malaxis spicata, commonly known as Florida Adder's Mouth, has a limited distribution in the southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida. It produces 2-3 glossy basal or lower stem leaves and up to 150 small, non-resupinate flowers, which range in color from yellowish green to brown to orange-tinted. The lateral petals are strongly curved and cross behind the column, forming a slight hood. It is found in swamps and wet woodlands, where it is primarily terrestrial but is known to be semi-epiphytic in southern Florida, where it attaches to logs and stumps.

Malaxis spicata is globally considered secure, but is critically imperiled in both of the Carolinas and in Georgia.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported but flower morphology suggests fungus gnats.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, floodplains, shrublands or thickets, swamps, woodlands


  • epiphyte
  • terrestrial
Leaf arrangement:
  • basal
  • stem
Number of leaves on stem:
  • two
  • three
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
  • green to brown
  • orange
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is simple
Labellum length:
Up to 4 mm
Sepal length:
2.5–3 mm
Plant height:
7–45 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 Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data