Herbs & Plants

Adam & Eve (Aplectrum hyemale)-Orchid

Botanical Name: Aplectrum hyemale
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Corallorhizinae
Genus: Aplectrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Cymbidium hyemale (Muhl.)

Other Names: Adam & Eve Root, Puttyroot.

Habitat :
Aplectrum hyemale is native to the eastern United States and Canada, from Oklahoma east to the Carolinas and north to Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec and Massachusetts It grows in deep shade in the leaf litter of the forest floor. Woods and swamps. Moist, deciduous, upland to swampy forests from sea level to 1200 metres.

Parts Used: Root.

Description:  Aplectrum hyemale is a perennial  orchid plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).  This orchid is somewhat rare, since it prefers rich woodland slopes that have been undisturbed by timber activities or munching cattle.
Flower: Loose cluster of 8 to 20 greenish purple (sometimes yellow or white with purple tinge) flowers with two lips on 1 to 1-1/2 foot slender, leafless stalk; lower lip is white with purple spots, small lobe on each side and wavy in front. Leaf: Single oval basal leaf with white veins appears in fall and disappears after flowering; 4 to 6 inches long….click & see
It sends up a pretty, upright, ribbed leaf in the fall, and this remains through the winter, dying just as the plant is about to flower. The name “Adam & Eve” comes from the fact that the old root (Adam) gives rise to the new….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf from October to May, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 1 out of 5 for & see

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

root (Eve), and then continues to hang around. The name “Puttyroot” comes from the fact that Native Americans used the glutinous matter derived from crushing the bulb of the plant to mend broken pottery and to fasten objects together.

Cultivation :
Needs to be grown in the shade and humus-rich soil of a woodland garden.

Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Plants have proved to be amenable to cultivation.


Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.

Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers.

Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally

Medicinal Properties: Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

Uses: American Indians poulticed roots on boils. Root tea formerly used for bronchial troubles.

Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

The roots are macerated to a paste and applied to boils or used to treat head pains,

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of bronchial troubles.

The roots were given to children by some tribes of native North American Indians in order to endow the children with the gift of eloquence and to make them fat.

Other Uses
A glue can be obtained from the tubers. The roots are bruised with a small addition of water, this gives a strong cement that is used for repairing broken pots, glass etc.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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