Malaxis monophylla
(Linnaeus) Swartz var. brachypoda (Gray)
White Adder's Mouth

Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia
Specific Habitat

Mixed Forest Region and adjacent Boreal Forest Region. Usually grows in partially to deeply shaded, moist to wet swamps and low-lying woods. Prefers calcareous swamps dominated by Eastern White Cedar, Black Ash, Balsam Fir, Black Spruce. Where the swamp floor is very wet, the plants grow in mounds around tree roots and on rotting logs.

Flowering Season

Mid June to mid August.


Height to 15 cm. Stem smooth, pale, green and glossy.
Leaf solitary (rarely two, on non-flowering plants), sheathing the lower part of the stem, ovate-elliptic to linear shape, light green.
Raceme very slender, elongate, 15-30 flowers widely spaced.
Flowers greenish-white, lip position lowermost.


A small and inconspicuous plant, more noticeable after the light coloured seed capsules have formed. Widely distributed but not abundant. Has one of the tiniest blooms of all orchids. A large plant will stretch only the length of the hand.


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


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