Saturday, November 6, 2010

Northwestern Twayblade (Listera banksiana)

This tiny and rather insignificant native orchid has usually been identified, and sometimes still is identified, as Listera caurina.  It is found in the northwest as far north as lower Alaska, as far south as California, and as far east as Wyoming.  It is said to be especially abundant in the Olympic Mountains of Washington, but is quite common throughout its range.

The plants we have seen have usually been from 10-20 cm tall, but is said to grow as tall as 30 cm.  It has two opposite heart-shaped leaves about halfway up the stem and has a good number - up to 25 - small green flowers that have two darker stripes on the sides of the lip and that are diagnostic.  We have found it blooming in open areas, especially along the trails.


  1. Neat! I recently read about this species in Luer's book on US native orchids (excluding Florida).

    The Florida Native Orchid Blog

  2. It is a lovely little thing, but easy to miss if you're not watching for it.

  3. So delicate looking. I can see why it would be easily missed.

  4. It is lovely but you have to get close to see it, Jim. They're fairly common in certain areas, but we never tire of them.

  5. Ron,
    It was a delight to peruse your blogs and see many things that are a first for me. I visited the Pacific Northwest only once and have longed to return ever since. I am always in awe of the beauty around us.
    Mother Natures Garden Evolution/Donna

  6. Donna,
    Thanks for visiting. Hope you have the opportunity to come out our way once again.