This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
[Achroanthes Raf. Med. Rep. (II.) 5: 352. 1808.] [Microstylis Nutt. Gen. 2: 196. 1818.]
Low herbs, from a solid bulb, most species 1-leaved, and with 1-several scales at the base of the stem. Flowers small, white or green, in a terminal raceme. Sepals spreading, separate, the lateral ones equal at the base. Petals filiform or linear, spreading. Lip cordate or eared at the base, embracing the column. Anther erect between the auricles, 2-celled; pollinia 4, smooth and waxy, 2 in each sac, the pairs cohering at the summit, without caudicles or glands. Capsule oval, sometimes nearly globose, beakless. [Greek, perhaps in allusion to the soft tissues.]
About 45 species, widely distributed. Besides the following, about 4 others occur in the southern and western parts of North America. Type species: Malaxis spicata Sw.
Leaf sheathing the base of the stem.
Leaf clasping the stem near the middle.
Ophrys monophyllos L. Sp. PI. 947. 1753.
Microstylis monophylla Lindl. Bot. Reg. pi. 1290. 1829.
Achroanthes monophylla Greene, Pittonia 2: 183. 1891.
Stem slender, 4'-6' high, smooth, glabrous, striate. Leaf sheathing the stem at its base, the blade 1-2' long, i'-lj' wide; raceme i'-3' long, narrow, 3"-5" thick; flowers whitish, about 1" long; pedicels nearly erect, bracted, 1"-2" long; sepals acute; lip triangular or ovate, acuminate, the lateral lobes obtuse; capsule oval, about 3" long.
In woods, Quebec to Manitoba, Pennsylvania and Nebraska. July.
M. unifolia Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 157. 1803. Achroanthes unifolia Raf. Med. Rep. (II.) 5: 352.
1808. Microstylis ophioglossoides Nutt. Gen. 2: 196.
Stem glabrous, striate, 4'-10' high. Leaf clasping the stem near the middle, oval or nearly orbicular, 1'-2 1/2' long, 10"-1 1/2' wide; raceme l'-3' long, sometimes 1' thick; flowers greenish, about 1" long, the pedicels very slender, spreading, 3"-5" long; sepals oblong; lip broad, 3-toothed at the apex; capsule oval or subglobose.
Malaxis paludosa (L.) Sw. (Sturmia paludosa Reichb.), a small species, with several basal leaves and very small flowers, otherwise known only from Europe and Asia, has been found in Otter Tail County, Minnesota.