Northern Twayblade – Listera borealis

Orchid Family – Orchidaceae

Actual flower size: ¼ inch across

Actual flower size: ¼ inch across

Another Latin name for Northern Twaayblade is Neottia borealis

Plant Description: The stems of the Northern Twayblade are smooth, slightly squarish, 2 to 10 inches tall, and glandular hairy above. A pair of 3/4  to 1.5 inch, oval-shaped leaves are located about 3/5 up the stem. Usually less than 12 but up to 20, evenly spaced, tiny, green or yellowish-green flowers are located along the top one-fourth of the stem.

Flower Description: The flowers are pale greenish. The sepals and petals are narrow and strongly reflexed away from the lip and column. The lip is unusually large for the size of the flower (It is up to ½ inch long – more than twice as large as the petals) and hangs down at a 45 degree angle.  It is shallowly notched, slightly narrowed at the center, and has a dark vein down the middle and 2 lobes at its base. There is also a pair of minute ear-like structures at the base.

Ecology: Northern Twayblade prefers cold, acidic soils, at high elevations in mossy forests, swamps, or cold streams. In Washington, it occurs only along the northern border.

Northern Twayblade Photo Gallery

Photo information: These photos were all taken on July 24, 2012 on the trail above Lake Agnes, Banff NP, Alberta, Canada.


Actual flower size: ¼  inch across