Regardless of season, Downy Rattlesnake Plantain is a delight to encounter in the woods of Virginia. This evergreen orchid is a perennial rhizomatous herb of the forest floor. The horizontal rhizomes, usually covered lightly by leaf litter, bear roots at intervals and terminate in a rosette of leaves. Leaves are alternate, somewhat crowded together, and only slightly elevated above ground level. Leaf blades are ovate, 3–8 cm long, and 1.5–3 cm wide, often of varying size within a rosette. Leaves are present year-round, bluish-green, with prominent white veins; on each leaf, a broad midvein is flanked by two smaller veins that arise near the base of the blade and converge near the apex. Additional fine veins complete an irregular network pattern. In summer, robust plants produce an elongate flower stalk, 10–40 cm tall, from the center of the rosette.

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Copyright © 2016 Virginia Native Plant Society. Virginia Native Plant Society Wildflowers of the Year (2016).

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