#Biodiversity150 number 90 of 150 Giant Rattlesnake Plantain

90/150: Rattlesnake Plantains – orchids used for traditional cures

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Liliopsida: Asparagales: Orchidaceae: Goodyera (robert brown)

Rattlesnake plantains are not nearly as scary as their names make them out to be. There are 4 species in North America belonging to the Goodyera genus and all known as rattlesnake plantains. They look like fleshy weeds, but are actually a type of orchid with signature veins on their leaves. These evergreen plants call coniferous and mixed forests in most of North America their home, although some Goodyera species are threatened in parts of their range. Hybridization between the 4 endemic species can be common and, due to multiple hybrids and similarity in leaf appearance, they can be difficult to distinguish when not flowering. They have multiple medicinal uses that cover a wide variety of ailments and are prized by aboriginal peoples. The plant roots and leaves can be applied to bruises, rashes, and insect bites that irritate the skin. Aboriginals have also made the roots and leaves into tea to help with improving appetite, pleurisy, and of course, to treat snake bites. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150 #traditionalmedicine #medicinalherbs

Giant rattlesnake plantain (G. oblongifolia) in bloom. Photo Credit: Richard Droker goo.gl/Fi1QMh
Rattlesnake plantain with only basal leaves present. Jennifer McNew goo.gl/TkRauQ

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  VPSBC183-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Giant Rattlesnake Plantain