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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Dieter H. Wilken and William F. Jennings

Perennial, terrestrial in CA, some nongreen, generally from rhizomes
Leaves linear to ± round or scale-like, generally sessile
Inflorescence: generally raceme or spike, bracted
Flower bisexual, bilateral, sometimes spurred; sepals generally 3, generally petal-like, generally free, uppermost generally erect; petals 3, lowest different ("lip"); stamen generally 1, fused with style and stigma into column, pollen generally sticky, generally removed as sessile anther sacs; ovary inferior, generally twisted 180° (so lip appears to be lowest perianth segment), 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal; stigmas 3, generally under column tip
Fruit: capsule
Seeds very many, minute
Genera in family: ± 800 genera, ± 18,000 species: especially tropical (worldwide except deserts). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattelya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedalum; Vanilla planifolia fruits used as source of food flavoring
Reference: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California, Cornell Univ.]
Nongreen plants derive nutrition through fungal intermediates.



Stem leafy, often puberulent above
Leaves: basal 1–2, < cauline; cauline lanceolate to ovate, often ribbed
Inflorescence: flowers 1–several; bracts ± leaf-like
Flower: lower sepals ± fused, pendent behind lip; lateral petals descending to spreading, ± like upper sepal, sometimes twisted; lip balloon-like, generally obovoid, mouth ± puckered, margin inrolled; column curved over lip mouth; stamens 2, separated by petal-like staminode
Fruit pendent to spreading, ribbed
Species in genus: ± 35 species: temp North America, Eurasia
Etymology: (Greek: Venus foot, from lip shape)
Some cultivated for ornamental.


C. montanum Lindl.


Plant 25–70 cm
Leaves 4–6, cauline, alternate, 5–15 cm, elliptic to ovate
Inflorescence open; flowers generally 1–3
Flower: upper sepal 3–6 cm, lanceolate, twisted or wavy, generally purplish; lateral petals 25–60 mm, narrowly lanceolate, descending, twisted; lip 20–30 mm, white; staminode 8–12 mm, yellow, red- to purple-spotted
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Moist areas, dry slopes, mixed-evergreen or coniferous forest
Elevation: 200–2200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, n&c Sierra Nevada, sw San Francisco Bay Area, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Montana, Wyoming
Horticultural information: very DFCLT.
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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