​The Adam and Eve Orchid

​The Adam and Eve Orchid

The Adam and Eve Orchid

The Adam and Eve orchid or the Aplelectrum hyemale is native to the eastern US and Canada. It is also called the Puttyroot orchid. The species spreads underground through its tubers, which form colonies. In late November, the leaves appear and last until March. The leaves are elliptically shaped with pleated pinstripes of silvery-white and green tones. From May until June, flower stalks look with several blooms a few millimeters across.

This plant grows on wooded slopes, in rich bottomlands, in ravine bottoms, and along streams. The leaves are often spotted lying atop dead leaves on the forest floor. When this plant is found, it will be identifiable by its 7-15 flowers on a bare stem. Each mature flower is 12 to 18 inches tall with small yellow to white flowers with purple on a flower of three sepals and petals. The petals are small lipped, and 3-lobed.

The Adam and Eve orchid reverses the regular cycle of chlorophyll production. It only has left in the fall and winter when the trees lose their leaves. That allows more light to reach the plant, and it’s the time when the plant flourishes.

The Adam and Eve orchid is a native wildflower. It is a perennial plant returning every year without replanting. It loves moist soils and grows in states from Oklahoma to the west to the Carolinas in the east. It multiplies as far north as Quebec through Minnesota and Massachusetts and as far south as the Upper Mississippi Valley and Arizona. These zones include zones 3a-7b. The Adam and Eve orchid thrives in various soil types, and the plant does well in full or partial shade. You can easily add this plant to your landscaping plan. Water regularly, but don't overwater and do not allow it to dry out between watering. The soil should be slightly moist at all times. That is a protected plant species, so check before gathering seeds for planting.