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..
Roots tuberous, or of numerous fleshy fibres; stems in our species scape-like, 1-leaved at the base. Flowers in short terminal spikes. Sepals separate, subequal, spreading. Petals similar to the sepals. Lip connate with the base of the column, 3-lobed, produced below into a spur. Column short, scarcely extending beyond the base of the lip. Anther 2-celled, the sacs contiguous and slightly divergent; pollinia granulose, 1 large mass in each sac, produced into a slender caudicle, the end of which is attached to a small gland. Stigma a hollowed surface between the anther-sacs, the rostellum a knob-like projection under the anther. Glands enclosed in a pouch. Capsule oblong, erect, without a beak. [Name ancient]
About 80 species, natives of the north temperate zone. Only the following is known in North America. Type species: Orchis militaris L.
Stem slender, 8'-10' high, 1-leaved near the base. Leaf varying from nearly orbicular to oval, 1 1/2'-3' long, 1'-2' wide, with 1 or 2 sheathing scales below it; spike 2-6-flowered; flowers 6"-8" long, subtended by small bracts; lateral sepals spreading, sometimes longer than the petals; sepals and petals oval, rose-color; lip white, purple spotted, longer than the petals, 3-lobed, the middle lobe larger, dilated, 2-lobed or notched at the apex; spur slender, shorter than or about equalling the lip.
In damp woods, Greenland to the Rocky Mountains, Maine, New York and Wisconsin. June-July.