Winsome indeed are the large, solitary, rose-purple blossoms of this locally common Orchid, which blooms during May and June, in bogs and swamps where most people are not likely to wander. It is named after the beautiful nymph, Arethusa, whom the Goddess Diana transformed into a fountain to avoid the ardent attentions of Alpheus, the river god, who had fallen in love with her. The Arethusa is a spurless Orchid, closely related to the Pogonia, and has a delicate, violet-like fragrance. The smooth, slender stalk rises from five to ten inches high from a small bulb and bears from one to three loose, sheathing bracts. The long, slender, many-ribbed and grass-like leaf is solitary, and appears after the flowering period. The flower is nearly erect and is borne singly on the tip of the stalk from between a pair of small scales. Two of the sepals are spreading, while the other one with two petals is somewhat arched. They are all partly united and nearly alike. The conspicuous, drooping lip has a broad, rounded, and recurved apex, which is toothed or fringed, blotched with purple, and ridged with three white, hairy crests.
This Orchid ranges from North Carolina and Indiana northward to Canada.