This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
This much-admired flower is found in moist, shady woods. There are three varieties of this species - some rather rare. " The root of this plant consists of numerous thick fibres. Flowering stem simple, and rising from one to two feet high. Flowers large and showy, solitary, sometimes with a large foliaceous bract at the base. Petals greenish, stained with purple, and from one and a half to two inches long. Upper sepal rather broadly lanceolate; the two lower ones commonly united nearly to the tip, but sometimes distinct. Petals lanceolate linear, undulate and twisted. Lip yellow, one to one and a half inches long, somewhat obovoid, much inflated".
This and the preceding are very nearly allied, and many of our botanists do not consider them distinct. In character it does not differ material!)'. " Flowers purplish-brown, mixed with green. Petals much narrower and rather larger, undulate and twisted, green-spotted, with purplish brown, or sometimes wholly purplish. Lip one to one and a half inches long, somewhat flattened above and below, the sides swelling out. Flowers in May and June." Rare; found in woods and swamps; sometimes on hillsides.
This plant is found in the vicinity of Albany, in woods, in both dry and moist situations; flowers in May. "Roots thick and fibrous. Leaves from three to six inches long, from one to one and a half inches wide, at first erect, but finally spreading. Stalk rises from eight to twelve inches high, flowers pendulous, with a shallow fissure or indentation in front, greenish mixed with purple".
This plant bears cultivation remarkably well, and improves by care and attention. We have had no difficulty in cultivating it, and consider ourselves well paid in its splendid show for all our trouble.