Page author: David Giblin
Neottia borealis
northern twayblade

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in north-central and northeastern Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east to northern Rocky Mountains, east across Canada to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Moist, rich coniferous forest understory.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Herbaceous perennials, terrestrial, to 26 cm tall; stems succulent, green, glabrous to inflorescence, somewhat 4-angled, cauline bracts enclosing stem at base; roots fibrous.


Leaves generally 2, opposite, sessile; blade green to dark bluish green, elliptic to somewhat ovate or lanceolate, 1.3-6 cm long and 0.7-3 cm broad, apex obtuse to rounded, glabrous.


Inflorescence terminal bracteate raceme, 2-9 cm; floral bracts lanceolate to ovate to oblong, 1-3 mm long and 0.5-1 mm broad, apex obtuse; peduncle and rachis glandular-pubescent; flowers 5-20, light or yellowish green, or bluish green with dark green veins, resupinate; pedicel thread-like, 3.5-7 mm, glandular-pubescent; sepals and petals significantly reflexed backwards from lip and column; dorsal sepal narrowly elliptic, 4-6 mm long and 1.5-2.2 mm broad, apex obtuse or rounded; lateral sepals narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblong, sickle-shaped, 4.5-7 mm long and 1.4-2.3 mm broad, apex obtuse or rounded; petals linear or linear-oblong, sickle-shaped, 4.5-5 mm long and 0.7-1.5 mm broad, apex obtuse; labellum oblong and somewhat narrowed in center, base with widely rounded and bluntly angled spreading earlobe-like appendages, apex somewhat dilated, cleft into 2 oblong or nearly orbicular lobes with sharp points between; disc 3-veined with lateral veins purplish and branching, base darker green with a center ridge, thickened along center, 7-12 mm long and 4.2-6.5 mm broad, margins ciliate; column curved, stout, 3-4 mm long and 1 mm broad; anther on upper side of column near apex; pollinia 2, yellow, soft; ovary pedicellate.


Capsules, 8 mm long and 5 mm broad, ellipsoid.

Accepted Name:
Neottia borealis (Morong) Szlachetko
Publication: Fragm. Florist. Geobot. Supp. 3: 117. 1995.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Listera borealis Morong [FNA26, HC]
Ophrys borealis (Morong) Rydb.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Neottia borealis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Neottia borealis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Neottia borealis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Neottia borealis photos.

USDA Plants: Neottia borealis information.

2 photographs:
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