Index- plants in this Family
Orchidaceae / Orchid
Small Whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides)
Small Whorled Pogonia is also known as Green Fiveleaf Orchid and Little Whorled Pogonia.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 25cm in height (10inches). The stem is hollow.
Leaves: The leaves are whorled. Leaves can reach 8cm in length (3inches). Leaves can be as wide as 4 cm (1.6inches). There are usually five elliptic leaves (sometimes more) in a whorl just below the flower. The leaves point down at the time of flowering.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are green, yellow green sometimes white. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into early summer. There are three green sepals somewhat longer than the flower. The lower lip is bearded. There is usually only a single flower, sometimes two.
Habitat: Open woods, or shaded openings among hardwoods and pine.
Range: From Main to Missouri and as far south as north Georgia in very scattered locations. Very rare.

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© Daniel Reed

This is our rarest Orchid. Known locations in the south are few and scattered, however several new sites have been discovered in the recent years. This and the fact that many of the sites are on public or otherwise protected land has prompted a change in its Federal status from endangered to threatened.

The name Isotria means "equal" (isos) and "three" (treis) and refers to the sepals. Pogonia means "bearded" referring to the lip of the flower. The specific name medeoloides comes from the leaves being similar to Indian Cucumber, Medeola virginiana.

Similar Species: Large Whorled Pogonia, AKA Purple Fiveleaf Orchid (Isotria verticillata) is much more common. The leaves point up at the time of flowering and the stem is purplish, the sepals are proportionally longer

© James Henderson   E-mail      Image use policy

Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf



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