Platythelys querceticola (Lindl.) Garay

Low Ground Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Erythrodes querceticola, Goodyera querceticola, Platythelys sagrana

Platythelys querceticola, commonly known as the Low Ground Orchid or Jug Orchid, is distributed in Central and South America and reaches its northern limit in the southeast US. This species typically has 3-8 leaves that are present at flowering time and alternate along the stem that rises from a creeping rhizome. The inflorescence is a terminal raceme with 8-25 tubular, whitish green flowers. A spur is formed at the base of the labellum. This orchid usually blooms in July through September in swamps, shaded floodplains, and hardwood forests.

Platythelys querceticola is apparently secure based on its wide distribution in the Bahamas, Mexico, West Indies, and Central and South America. However, it is considered highly rare in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Pollination

Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported but the shape of the nectar spur and flower arrangement suggests long-tongued bees or small Lepidoptera.

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties

Platythelys querceticola is somewhat variable in North America and some field guides identify the plants found in southern Florida as a separate species, P. sagrana. These southern plants flower much earlier, tend to be taller with narrower leaves, and occupy drier habitat. Despite these differences, there exist inconsistencies and gradations between these two groups so that we recognize a single species.

Ecosystem Type

Floodplains, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat:
terrestrial
Leaf arrangement:
alternate
Number of leaves on stem:
  • six
  • seven or more
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • green to brown
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
present
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum has a spur
  • the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
Up to 7 mm
Sepal length:
3–4 mm
Plant height:
5–15 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America

Yes

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