Some of the evergreen herbaceous perennials in our woodlands will become easier to spot in the coming months, as we move into winter and the other vegetation thins out a bit. Examples include partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), galax (Galax urceolata), and the lesser-known rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens). Rattlesnake plantain can be found from the mountains to the Coastal Plain, including here in Craven County. (However, I do seem to recall seeing more of it growing up in the East Tennessee mountains.)
Rattlesnake plantain foliage is unique for its white, netted venation against a green background. White flowers are borne on tall spikes in the spring.
If you have wooded property and happen to notice rattlesnake plantain on site, make an effort to preserve these plants by controlling invasive and highly competitive vines such as English ivy and Japanese honeysuckle, or taller growing invasive shrubs such as Chinese privet and eleagnus that might be nearby.
Rattlesnake plantain can be purchased from some specialty nurseries, although it isn’t widely available. It should not be dug from the wild as this can deplete natural populations, and the transplants will likely not thrive unless the new site has near perfect forest understory conditions.
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