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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Goodyera oblongifolia

Rattlesnake Plantain

Flowering Period: Jul, Aug July August
Flower color: white
Partial sun Mostly shady
Moist soil Dry soil


At a Glance: Evergreen orchid from short rhizomes with an unusual mottled leaf pattern.

Height: Up to 1.5 feet (45 cm).
Growth Form: Herb.
Leaves: Leaves in basal rosette, thick dark green leaves with rattlesnake pattern of white markings, especially along midrib; shape: oval or oblong to narrowly elliptic; size: 3-10 cm (1-4 in) long.
Flowers: Petals and 1 of the sepals form a hood over the lip; numerous in long, dense, downy, terminal spike with most flowers oriented to one side; primary color: dull-white to greenish; size: to 1 cm. Does not bloom every year.
Flowering Period: July, August.
Fruits: Green capsules to 1 cm long.

Goodyera oblongifolia
Photo © Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
(data not available)

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites


Wildlife Value
(data not available)

Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: Used as a good luck charm by the Saanich and others. Children made small balloons from the leaves by rubbing them until the top and bottom layers separated, and then inflated them by blowing through the stem.
Medicinal Uses: This plant was known as a medicine for childbirth, and as a poultice for cuts or burns, the moist interior of the leaf being placed on the affected area. Because of the "Doctrine of the Sign," early settlers believed that the Rattlesnake Plantain could be used as an antivenin.
Name Info: It was thought to resemble Plantago major, hence the common name Plantain. "Goodyera" is named for John Goodyer, a 17th century English botanist.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.