Listera borealis
(Linnaeus) R. Brown var. cordata Heart Leaved Twayblade

Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories. Circumboreal across the Canadian Shield. Also found on Bruce Peninsula.
Specific Habitat

Found in wet coniferous woods and sphagnum bogs, usually in areas of calcareous bedrock. Responds well to "cold bottom" conditions.

Flowering Season

Mid May to the beginning of July.


Height 4.5 - 14 cm.
Leaves 2, opposite, ovate-cordate, attached a little below midway on the stem.
Raceme slender, 2 - 8 cm. Long, 6 - 20 flowers.
Flowers 3 - 5 mm. long, green to reddish purple. Lip cleft one-half its length into 2 diverging , long, narrow, pointed lobes.
A tiny, inconspicuous, shiny little plant.


Look for plant in sun dappled openings in coniferous and mixed forests.
Northern California populations are known to be pollinated by tiny fungus gnats (Ackerman and Mesler, 1979).
Seed capsules behind the lip ripen and expand before the flower withers, often giving the appearance of a flower hanging from a tiny baloon


Orchids of Ontario
The Canadian Field-Naturalist Vol III 1
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey


© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.