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Aplectrum hyemale

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Ground Orchids

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, rich, loam, clay

Height: 1'-2'

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: white, yellow, purple, pink, green, bronze

Leaf Color: green, blue-green, multi-color

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: colonizing, medicinal, ornamental foliage, rare, shade garden plant, stream margin plant, winter interest, woodland plant

Aplectrum hyemale (Adam and Eve)
  • Aplectrum hyemale (Adam and Eve)
  • Aplectrum hyemale (Adam and Eve)
  • Aplectrum hyemale (Adam and Eve)

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Description

Aplectrum hyemale

Also known as:

Adam and Eve

,

putty root

,

putty-root orchid

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Aplectrum hyemale is a terrestrial orchid found growing in cool climate deciduous forest of the eastern US. The root structure consists of two corms connected by a rhizome, hence the common name Adam and Eve. Each pair of corms will produce a single plaited, oblong, blue-green, pin-striped leaf in mid fall that will persist through winter. The solitary leaf will die back in mid spring, after which a tall (up to two feet) flower bearing stem might emerge. 8 to 10 pale green, or yellowish flowers tinge with purple will develop evenly spread on the upper part of the stem.

Cultivation

Native to mesic woods, Aplectrum hyemale requires a moist environment rich in leaf litter, that gets ample light during the winter months. It can also be found growing in lowland woods where the soil is not very well drained, yet not consistently saturated either. Under ideal conditions, it will spread by rhizomes to form large colonies. A very cold hardy species. Zones 3-8

Propagation

Propagate by corm division after blooming, when the plant is dormant.

Additional Notes

As with many of our native orchids, Aplectrum hyemale is endangered in a large portion of its native range, and should not be collected in the wild. Crushing the roots will release a glue-like substance that is strong enough to mend pottery, earning the species the common name putty root. The roots have also been used medicinally by various native American tribes.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: MA, NJ, NY
  • Rare: PA
  • Special Concern: CT
  • Threatened: VT

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Orchidales
Family Orchidaceae Orchid family
Genus Aplectrum Adam and Eve
Species Aplectrum hyemale Adam and Eve