Listera auriculata, officially known as Neottia auriculata, is a small (2-10 inches tall), perennial Orchid typically found in wetlands or moist woods in the Northern USA and Canada. It produces only two large, oval leaves directly beneath a single flowering stalk. It produces 5-20 small green flowers per flowering stalk in late summer. It is considered globally rare, and is listed as critically imperiled (S1), imperiled (S2) or threatened (S3) by NatureServe in most of its known range. It is primarily threatened by logging and changes in hydrology.
(Hoy, 2001; NatureServe, 2017; North American Orchid Conservation Center, 2017; USDA and NRCS, 2017)
2013 © Peter M. Dziuk Photo Credit: 2013 © Peter M. Dziuk
2013 © K. Chayka Photo Credit: 2013 © K. Chayka
Listera auriculata grows in a variety of cool, moist habitats. In the Northeastern USA it is typically found on forest riverbanks that are occasionally flooded or scoured by ice. It can also be found sandy stream banks, swamps, calcareous alluvium, or sphagnum bogs.
Listera auriculata is typically associated with Alders, which may benefit the orchid by holding the soil in place during flooding events, or through the Alder’s association with Nitrogen-fixing micro-organisms. It is also assumed that L. auriculata requires a fungal partner for seed germination, like many other Orchids. Lastly, this species’ nectar is fairly accessible to any small, flying insect, so pollination is likely possible via a variety of pollinators.
(Hoy 2001; NatureServe 2017)
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