Maine to Virginia.
Flowers; large; terminal; solitary; with two small scales underneath. The lip fringed, spotted with purple, and traversed by three white ridges. The other sepals and petals arching over the column. Leaves: one only; linear, appearing from the sheath of the scape after the flower. Scape: from a bulb; six to ten inches high.
The beautiful nymph Arethusa was first wrapped in a cloud by Diana and then changed into a fountain that she might escape the river god, Alpheus, who had fallen in love with her, as, overheated by the chase, she bathed in a clear, flowing stream. It seems not improbable that her namesake, our lovely flower, may have been placed by some protecting power in the swamps as a safeguard against her admirers; for surely no one could see the flower without loving it, and who loving it would have the hardihood to leave it upon its stem to be visited only by its butterfly sweethearts ?