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Ronald A. Coleman, Dieter H. Wilken & William F. Jennings, except as noted

Perennial herb, terrestrial [growing on other plants], non-green (nutrition from association of roots with fungi) or green, generally from rhizomes or tubers with few to many fleshy to slender roots; cauline leaves ± reduced to sheathing stem bracts or not. Leaf: 1–many, basal to cauline, linear to ± round, alternate to opposite (if only 1 pair), generally sessile. Inflorescence: flowers 1–many, spike or raceme, bracted. Flower: bisexual, bilateral, in bud generally rotating 180° by twisting ovary (position of parts indicated after twisting); sepals generally 3, generally free, generally petal-like, uppermost generally erect, lateral with chin- or spur-like projection (mentum) or not; petals 3, 1 (lip) different, spurred or not; stamens generally 1 (3 in Cypripedium, 2 functional, 1 a staminode), fused with style, stigma into column, pollen generally lumped, generally removed as unit by insect; ovary inferior, 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal, stigma 3 lobed, generally under column tip. Fruit: capsule. Seed: many, minute.
± 800 genera, ± 25000 species: especially tropics (worldwide except Antarctica). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattleya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum; Vanilla planifolia Andrews fruits used to flavor food. [Romero-Gonzalez et al. 2002 FNANM 26:490–651] Platanthera may be paraphyletic without inclusion of Piperia (Bateman et al. 2009 Ann Bot 104:431–445); study needed. —Scientific Editors: Ronald A. Coleman, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California. Cornell Univ.]

Key to Orchidaceae


Ronald A. Coleman, L.K. Magrath, Dieter H. Wilken & William F. Jennings

Rhizomes slender. Leaf: cauline, 2, ± opposite, generally ovate to ± round. Inflorescence: raceme, ± open; flower bract < flower. Flower: sepals ± equal, green to ± purple, lower spreading; lateral petals ± like sepals, ascending to erect; lip generally > sepals, petals, spreading to descending, generally wedge-shaped, flat, tip entire to deeply lobed; column subcylindric, straight to curved, anther at tip. Fruit: generally spreading.
± 25 species: temperate, arctic North America, Eurasia. (Martin Lister, English naturalist, 1638–1711) [Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids Calif. Cornell Univ] Names available in Neottia (earlier name), with same epithets, for all California taxa if Listera treated as congeneric with that genus.

Key to Listera

Plant 6–25 cm. Leaf: blade 1–4 cm, base cordate. Inflorescence: 2.5–4 cm. Flower: sepals 2–4 mm, oblong to narrowly elliptic; lip 8–10 mm, oblong below middle, with 2 short teeth at base, deeply 2-lobed; column 0.5–1.5 mm.
2n=36,38,40,42. Moist, shady conifer forests; 100–1300 m. North Coast, Klamath Ranges; to Alaska, eastern North America, Eurasia. [Listera cordata var. cordata; Listera cordata var. nephrophylla (Rydb.) Hultén; Listera nephrophylla Rydb.] Mar–Jun [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

Previous taxon: Listera convallarioides
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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Listera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015

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click for enlargement Listera cordata
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2007 Matt Below

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Listera cordata Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.