Tag Archives: Lily-leaved twayblade

Lily-leaved twayblade (Liparis liliifolia)

Lily-leaved twayblade

Lily-leaved twayblade (Liparis liliifolia), a common orchid in eastern United States, is scattered to rare in Minnesota. It is found from the driftless area in the southeast to just north of the St. Cloud area, with isolated populations in Itasca and Watonwan Counties. It grows in open woodlands, small woodland openings, and along woodland trails, where it gets partial sun or light shade. It is declining in Minnesota due to loss of habitat and to forest management practices. It has been recorded historically, but is no longer found, in Wright, Sherburne, and Anoka Counties. It may be decreasing in part due to fire suppression and forest succession, as oak forest is overtaken by maples and basswood, becoming more densely shaded.

Lily-leaved twayblade has two large, lily-like leaves at the base; a single, leafless, 10″ tall, flowering stem; and a loose, unbranched cluster of up to 31 flowers. The flowers are brownish-purple and have a spidery appearance. The sepals are green, long, and very narrow. The side petals are long, very narrow to thread-like, and hang downward. During development the flower twists 180° so that, when mature, the upper petal (lip) appears to be the lower. The lip is brownish-purple and more or less flat. After the flowers drop off in late summer the cluster of erect, green, seed capsules at the end of a bare green stem rising from persistent green basal leaves is distinctive.