Listera ovata

(Linnaeus) R. Brown

in W. Aiton and W. T. Aiton, Hortus Kew. 5: 201. 1813.

Common names: Common twayblade
Basionym: Ophrys ovata Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 2: 946. 1753
Synonyms: Diphryllum ovatum (Linnaeus) Kuntze Distomaea ovata (Linnaeus) Spenner Epipactis ovata (Linnaeus) Crantz Helleborine ovata (Linnaeus) F. W. Schmidt Neottia latifolia Richard Neottia ovata (Linnaeus) Bluff & Fingerhut
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 591. Mentioned on page 587.

Plants 20–60 cm. Stem green, stout, succulent, glabrous. Leaves: blade yellow-green to green, ovate-elliptic, 10–17 × 10–12 cm, apex acute. Inflorescences 10–100-flowered, lax to dense, 10–50 cm; floral bracts lanceolate, 3 × 1 mm; peduncle and rachis glandular-pubescent. Flowers yellowish green; pedicels stout, 3–4 mm, slightly glandular-pubescent; sepals and petals projecting forward, connivent, forming hood over column; dorsal sepal ovate, concave, 5–6 × 2–3 mm, apex obtuse; lateral sepals ovate, concave, falcate, 4 × 2–3 mm, apex obtuse; petals linear, concave, 4 × 1 mm, apex obtuse; lip acutely deflexed near base, sessile, linear, apical 1/2 expanded, cleft into bluntly rounded lobes separated by tooth in sinus; disc with longitudinal thickened ridge leading to deflection, 8–10 × 4 mm; column short, 2 × 1.5 mm. Capsules semierect, ellipsoid, 10 × 6 mm. 2n = 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 42.

Phenology: Flowering late Jun–Jul.
Habitat: Moist rich humus, or in disturbed areas
Elevation: 700–800 m


V26 1205-distribution-map.jpg

Introduced; Ont., Eurasia.


Listera ovata is a large, robust, aggressive, and exceedingly common orchid weed found in many kinds of habitat throughout Europe into Siberia and India. It may have the potential to become a weedy orchid in North America just as Epipactis helleborine. Listera ovata was used by Charles Darwin in his investigation and description of the method of cross-fertilization in the genus Listera.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Listera ovata"
Lawrence K. Magrath +  and Ronald A. Coleman +
(Linnaeus) R. Brown +
Ophrys ovata +
Common twayblade +
Ont. +  and Eurasia. +
700–800 m +
Moist rich humus, or in disturbed areas +
Flowering late Jun–Jul. +
in W. Aiton and W. T. Aiton, Hortus Kew. +
Introduced +
Diphryllum ovatum +, Distomaea ovata +, Epipactis ovata +, Helleborine ovata +, Neottia latifolia +  and Neottia ovata +
Listera ovata +
species +