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Common Name: Western Rattlesnake Plantain
Goodyera oblongifolia is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
N. America - Quebec to British Columbia, New Hampshire, Michigan, Arizona and California.
Deep leaf litter and shade of moist or dry coniferous or mixed woods, in East infrequent in cedar swamps, in s Rocky Mountains confined to high elevation spruce-fir forests; 0 - 3400 m[
Requires a somewhat shady site and a well-drained compost of peat, leafmold and sand[
]. Does well in the woodland garden[
This species is not very hardy in Britain, it is suitable for cultivation in a cool greenhouse or, perhaps, for a select position outdoors[
]. It is closely related to the British native species G. repens[
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[
An exudation from the plant is used as a chewing gum[
An infusion of the plants has been used as a tonic[
A poultice of the softened leaves has been applied to cuts and sores[
]. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the bath water for treating stiff muscles[
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 is best carried out in the spring[
]. Each division should have a leading point and two, or preferably three, joints of the rhizome[
]. More propagating material can be obtained by cutting halfway through the rhizome during the previous growing season at the point where you wish to divide[
]. This will stimulate the production of growth buds at the point of division[