Liparis liliifolia (L.) Rich.

Liparis lilifolia plant

Family - Orchidaceae

Stems - To 30cm tall, erect, herbaceous, glabrous, green, from a bulblike corm and thickened roots, single from base, simple. Corm surrounded by a papery sheath with a reticulate pattern (easiest to see when dry).

Liparis lilifolia bulbCorm with papery sheathing.

Leaves - Basal, sheathing, 2-3 per plant, glabrous, entire, shiny-green above, lighter abaxially, to 15cm long, +/-8cm broad, broadly elliptic to ovate, rounded at the apex.

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme of 5-30 flowers to +/-8cm long (tall). Axis glabrous.

Liparis lilifolia inflorescence

Flowers - Floral tube, purple, glabrous. Sepals 3, 9-12mm long, yellow-green, spreading, with revolute margins and appearing folded, glabrous. Lateral petals purplish, drooping, linear, to 1.3cm long. Lip to 1.2cm long, purplish-green but darker purple at the base abaxially, glabrous, expanded, obovate, abruptly acute at the apex. Column 3-4mm long, glabrous, greenish, arched over the lip of the corolla. Stamens 1.

Liparis lilifolia flowerFlower.

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Dry to mesic upland woods, streambanks, slopes, ridgetops. On acidic substrates.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking little species can be found throughout much of Missouri but is most common in the Southeastern half of the state. The plant is easy to identify in flower because of its small size and purplish flowers. Another species, L. loeselii (L.) Rich., is similar but has smaller flowers with a yellow-green lip. This latter species is much less common in Missouri and is only found in a handful of Ozark counties.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, 6-9-03.


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