[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.

22 Malaxis Soland Sw Prodr 119 1788 1405

Leaf sheathing the base of the stem.


A. monophylla.

Leaf clasping the stem near the middle.


A. unifolia.

1. Malaxis Monophylla (L.) Sw. White Adder's-Mouth

Fig. 1406

Ophrys monophyllos L. Sp. PI. 947. 1753.

Malaxis monophyllos Sw. Vet. Akad. Nya Handl. 21: 234. 1800.

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.

1 Malaxis Monophylla L Sw White Adder s Mouth 14061 Malaxis Monophylla L Sw White Adder s Mouth 1407

2. Malaxis Unifolia Michx. Green Adder's-Mouth

Fig. 1407

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.

In woods and thickets, Newfoundland to Ontario and Manitoba, south to Florida, Alabama and Missouri. Ascends to 4000 ft. in North Carolina. July.

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.