New York Natural Heritage Program
Dragon's Mouth Orchid
Arethusa bulbosa L.

General Description [-]
Dragon's Mouth orchid has one, sometimes two, magenta to bluish to white flowers at the top of a single narrow stem about 6-40 centimeters tall. The lip of the flower is pinkish-white with purple splotches and a yellow midvein. It curves out then down and has fringe on the top. Three petals form a hood over the lip while the two remaining petals stick up like rabbit ears. There is one long, narrow leaf halfway up the stem that is absent when the plant is in flower.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
While experts can identify this plant in fruit or even from the dried persisting fruit stalks, for easy identification it is best to search for it in flower. When flowering, this plant can be seen from a great distance if not hidden by over-topping vegetation.

Similar Species [-]
Rose pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) has well developed leaves at flowering while Arethusa is essentially leafless at the time of flowering.
Dragon's Mouth Orchid Images
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Images of Similar Species
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The Best Time to See
The peak blooming time is Memorial Day weekend for Long Island and early to mid-June for northern New York. Flowers may be observed until late June or early July. The fruiting capsules could persist for more than a year, but most are broken down by compaction from snowfall. Surveys should be conducted during the peak blooming periods.
Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Dragon's Mouth Orchid flowering (blue shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.