Family, Orchis. These flowers are small, about 1/4 inch long, with free side sepals, the upper sepal with the petals, united into a helmet-shaped form. Lip, a pocket, or sac-shaped. Flowers in a dense, terminal spike on a scape 6 to 20 inches high, bearing several scales. Leaves, several, clustered at the root, ovate, softly downy, conspicuously veined with white. August to October.
A pretty and common plant of the woods, especially pine woods, known at once by the pretty rosettes of white-veined leaves at the root. Whole plant soft-downy. Range, over the Atlantic seaboard and westward to Tennessee. (See illustration, p. 55.)
E. ripens is a species found in woods, especially under evergreens; lower and more slender than the last, with leaves not so strongly veined with white as in E. pubcscens, short-petioled, ovate, pointed, advancing up somewhat on the stem on one side. Flowers in a one-sided spike, small, greenish white, the lip pocket-shaped and curving backward at the apex. July and August.
Rattlesnake Plantain (Epipuctis pubescens)
Near the coast and westward to Kentucky and Tennessee.
E. decipiens is stout-stemmed, with leaves less strongly veined with white, sometimes not at all. Flowers rather crowded in onesided racemes. Lip, not sac-shaped, but much swollen at base, prolonged into a point at the apex. July and August.
Dry woods, northward.