Rattlesnake-plantains get their name from their broad, rounded leaves, which are similar in shape to those of plantain, a common lawn weed. They are not actually plantains; they are orchids. Checkered rattlesnake-plantain has leaves with soft green markings. It can be distinguished from Connecticut's other two species, downy rattlesnake-plantain (the most common species) and dwarf rattlesnake-plantain (Goodyera repens), both of which have bright silver markings on their leaves. However, checkered rattlesnake-plantain and dwarf rattlesnake-plantain can hybridize to plants with intermediate markings, so identification is sometimes difficult.
- Family: orchid (Orchidaceae)
- Habitat: rich woods
- Height: 6-16 inches
- Flower size: 1/4 inch long
- Flower color: white
- Flowering time: July to August
- Origin: native
Photographed in Minnesota in mid-July.
For comparison, here is dwarf rattlesnake plantain. Note that the markings are bright silver, in contrast to the more subtle coloration of checkered rattlesnake plantain.