Slender or stout, 2-5 dm; fleshy-forked roots renewed annually; lowest 1 or 2 lvs reduced to bladeless sheaths; main foliage lvs 3 or more, obovate to oblanceolate, 5-
12 cm, up to 5 cm wide, the upper progressively reduced and passing into bracts; infl 5-20 cm, the lanceolate, foliaceous bracts (especially the lower) surpassing the fls; fls greenish, often tinged with purple; lip 6-10 mm, its margins upcurved at the base (nectariferous within the minute lateral pouches so produced), the body obcuneately widened distally, terminating in 3 teeth, the central one the shortest; lateral pet lanceolate, nearly concealed by the incurved sep; spur 2-3 mm, pouch-like, with a minute orifice; 2n=40. Moist woods; circumboreal, in Amer. s. to N.J., Md., W.Va., O., Io., and Nebr., and in the mts. to N.C. and Colo. May-Aug. Our plants belong to the American and east Asian var. bracteata (Muhl.) A. Gray. (Coeloglossum v., and var. virescens)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.