Arethusa bulbosa L.

dragon's-mouth

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Dragon's-mouth is endemic to northeastern North America. The genus Arethusa includes only this species and is named after a river nymph from Greek mythology. The flowers are showy and fragrant but offer little or no reward to the pollinator.

Habitat

Bogs, fens (calcium-rich wetlands), meadows and fields, swamps, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Number of leaves on stem
absent
Form of lower petal
the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
Lower petal outline
the labellum is simple in form
Main color of lower petal
pink to red
Nectar spur
there are no nectar spurs on the flower
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence has only one flower or a pair of flowers on it
Lower petal characteristics
  • the labellum is lobed
  • the labellum is simple in form
Lower petal length
19–35 mm
Sepal length
20–55 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Flower petal color
    • blue
    • pink
    • white
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowering date
    • July
    • June
    • May
    Flowers per inflorescence
    1–2
    Form of lower petal
    the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
    Hairs on inflorescence axis
    NA
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence has only one flower or a pair of flowers on it
    Labellum position
    the labellum is in the lower position on the flower
    Length of narrowed base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Length of peduncle
    100–300 mm
    Lobes at base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lower petal characteristics
    • the labellum is lobed
    • the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal length
    19–35 mm
    Lower petal outline
    the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal strongly red-veined
    no
    Main color of lower petal
    pink to red
    Nectar spur
    there are no nectar spurs on the flower
    Nectar spur length
    0 mm
    Number of stamens
    1
    Orientation of side petals
    the lateral petals are vertically oriented or nearly so
    Pollen sacs
    the pollinia remain intact and do not fragment into smaller parts
    Self-pollinating flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on this plant
    Sepal length
    20–55 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Spots on lower petal
    yes
    Spur opening membrane
    NA
    Spur opening shape
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Fruit length
    15–25 mm
    Seed capsule orientation
    the capsule points upwards or is angled outwards
  • Growth form
    Plant green or not
    the plant is chlorophyllous (it has green parts)
    Roots
    the rhizomes do not resemble coral
    Underground organs
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bract relative length
    the bract is shorter than the associated flower
    Features of leaves
    • the leaf does not have any of the mentioned special features
    • the leaf is pleated or folded back and forth along its length
    Leaf arrangement
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Leaf blade edges
    the edges of the leaf blade have no teeth
    Leaf blade length
    50–230 mm
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    16.7–19.2
    Leaf blade width
    3–12 mm
    Leaves during flowering
    there are no leaves on the plant when it is flowering
    Number of bracts on stem
    1–3
    Number of leaves on stem
    absent
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • edges of wetlands
    • fens (calcium-rich wetlands)
    • meadows or fields
    • swamps

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
historical (S-rank: SH), special concern, extirpated (code: SC*)
Massachusetts
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), state endangered (code: SE)
Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), threatened (code: T)

Native to North America?

Yes

Family

Orchidaceae

Genus

Arethusa

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