Ontario Wildflowers website

Green Adder's Mouth
(Malaxis unifolia)

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Other scientific names: Achroanthes unifolia, Malaxis ophioglossoides, Microstylis ophioglossoides

French names: Malaxis unifoliť

Family: Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)

Group: Orchids

Flowers: Summer;  Green/Brown;  Irregular flowers

Leaves: Simple, Entire

Height: Up to 15 cm (6 in)

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas, Wet Areas, Bogs and Fens

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 46   

Photography notes: Be very careful photographing this tiny plant - it breaks easily. If you carefully pull away surrounding vegetation to photograph it please be sure to put it carefully back in place afterwards.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: : one-leaved


Photographs: 413 photographs available, of which 12 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Green Adder's Mouth is a very small Orchid that grows on sphagnum hummocks in bogs.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) flowers

A close view of the ultra-tiny green flowers.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Another view of a whole plant. This one is about 2" tall!

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) flowers

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) flowers

Notice how twisted up all the flowers stalks are. This is because, like many Orchids, the flowers of Green Adder's Mouth start in a position upside down from that of when they are fully open. As they open they gradually twist around.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) flowers closeup

An extreme closeup of the flowers. These flowers are so small that I would imagine that the only insects small enough to fertilize them would be gnats.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Another entire Green Adder's Mouth plant.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Here's a Green Adder's Mouth with some fingers to give a sense of scale.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

Ok, let's play "find the Green Adder's Mouth"!

In this and the next two photos the plant is in the center of the photo. It's the same plant in all three photos.

This one is fairly easy.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

In this photo the Green Adder's Mouth is just above the dark patch in the lower center of the photo.

Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia) plant

It's still there, just above that dark patch!

This should give you an idea of just how hard it is to spot these Orchids! Perhaps they are not so rare as people think, it's just that they're hard to spot!


Range map for Green Adder's Mouth (Malaxis unifolia)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)