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Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid, Rose Crested Orchid, Beard Flower, Sweet Crest Orchid - Pogonia ophioglossoides


Family: Orchidaceae - Orchid family Genus Common Name: Pogonia Native Status: NativeMonocot Perennial Herb
Pogonia ophioglossoides - Rose Pogonia, Snakemouth Orchid, Rose Crested Orchid, Beard Flower, Sweet Crest Orchid. Pogonia was among the earliest genera split off from Linnaeus' Arethusa genus, when over 30 species were moved into Pogonia. Subsequent study and reclassification have resulted in the move of most of those Pogonia into a few other genera (Cleistes, Cleistesiopsis, and Isotria), so that Pogonia has only 3 or 4 species left. Only one of those, Pogonia ophioglossoides, is found in North America; the others are Asian species. The Pogonia name is from the Greek word meaning "bearded" - pogonias.

While Pogonia ophioglossoides has a wide range of distribution in North America, being found in wet forest openings, meadows, and swampy areas of 33 states as well as all of the southeastern provinces in Canada, it is endangered or threatened in at least 7 of those states.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Pogonia ophioglossoides

Distribution of Pogonia ophioglossoides in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: AEDC, Coffee County, TN Date: 2016-June-08Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Rose pogonia has rose-pink or white sepals and petals, which may more accurately be described as tepals. The outer three (sepals) appear to frame the inner three (petals). The top inner tepals shroud the lower tepal, which forms the fringed lip. Ophioglossoides come from the Greek for snake (ophis) and tongue (glossa), referring to a perceived similarity to the Adder's Tongue Fern rather than to what may also seem like a similarity the flower may have to a snake's mouth.
Pogonia ophioglossoides

Site: AEDC, Coffee County, TN Date: 2016-June-08Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Pogonias is Greek for bearded, referring to the fringed and hairy lower lip. The fringed margin has rose-pink lines, and the hairs along the center closer to the throat are white or yellow.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Pogonia ophioglossoides

Site: AEDC, Coffee County, TN Date: 2016-June-08Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Orchids have 6 tepals in two whorls, or 3 sepals and 3 petals. Usually Pogonia ophioglossoides has two sepals to the side and one above, with the 2nd whorl being two petals inside the sepals and a the 3rd petal / 6th tepal being the lower, bearded lip. I wish I had gotten a head-on photo of this flower, since the tepal arrangement appears rather unusual.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Pogonia ophioglossoides

Site: AEDC, Coffee County, TN Date: 2016-June-08Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Rose Pogonia can grow to about 2 feet tall. The flowers terminate the slender stem. The flower is usually solitary, but there may occasionally be two. The bloom time is late spring thru mid-summer.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Pogonia ophioglossoides

Site: AEDC, Coffee County, TN Date: 2016-June-08Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The solitary, leathery leaf of Pogonia ophioglossoides is about halfway up the stem. It ascends almost parallel to the stem, and can be almost 5 inches long, and about one-quarter as wide as it is long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Pogonia ophioglossoides

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer