Herbs & Plants

Goodyera repens


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Botanical Name: Goodyera repens
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Goodyera
Species: G. repens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Satyrium repens. L.

Common Names: Creeping Lady’s Tresses, Lesser rattlesnake plantain, Creeping rattlesnake plantain, Dwarf rattlesnake plantain, Northern rattlesnake plantain

Habitats: Goodyera repens is a rare plant, but it is the most common orchid in Scandinavia. The species is widespread across much of Europe, Asia and North America including Russia, China, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, though never very common in any of these places. It grows in locally in pine woods, rarely under birch or on moist fixed dunes in northern Britain.

Goodyera repens is a perennial orchid plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is a green underground creeper that sends out occasional skinny stems above the surface. During the summer, these stems bear flowers arranged in a spiral. These flowers twist themselves to face toward the sun. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Humble bees.The plant is not self-fertile.


*Leaves are deciduous, mottled green and white, ½”-1″ long.
*Rhizomes are thick, fiberous.
*Flowers white to pale green and only 4mm-5 mm long; on a one-sided raceme, 1″-3½” long.
*Fruit a capsule, not quite ½” long.
Requires a somewhat shady site and a well-drained compost of peat, leafmold and sand. Does well in the 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.

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[200]. 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.

Medicinal Uses:
A cold infusion of the leaves has been used to improve the appetite and also in the treatment of colds and kidney problems. A poultice of the wilted leaves has been used to ‘draw out burns’. The infusion can be held in the mouth as a treatment for toothache. The root and the leaves have been used in the treatment of bladder problems. The roots and the leaves have been used in the treatment of stomach problems and female disorders. A poultice of the chewed leaves, and the swallowed juice, has been used in the treatment of snake bites. The plant ooze has been used as drops to treat sore eyes.

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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