Stems: scape glandular pubescent. Leaves: blotched with white, ovate. Flowers: galea concave, ovate, with a short, spreading, recurved tip; anther ovate, pointed on the base of the stigma into a gland-bearing awl-shaped beak,

This plant has a cluster of leaves at the base only; these are covered with a network of white veins and frequently also have white blotches on them. The flowers grow in a bracted spike, are greenish-white, and have a very hairy stalk.

Epipactis repens, or Small Rattlesnake Plantain, has also peculiar white-veined leaves, but in this species they grow up the stalk as well as at its base. The whole plant is smaller than E. dccipiens, and its insignificant flowers grow only on one side of the stem, which is much bracted and hairy. The name "Rattlesnake" applies to the resemblance between the curiously veined leaves and the body of a snake. This plant frequently grows in decaying wood.