Pogonia ophioglossoides

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: snakemouth orchid 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Orchidaceae
Native Range: Central Canada to central and eastern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink with yellow to white lower lip markings
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in consistently moist, moderately acidic, boggy soils in full sun. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Amend soils with peat moss, sphagnum, and sand to create a light but moisture retentive planting area if necessary. Slow to establish and intolerant of disturbance. Water with rain water, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water if your water source is alkaline or has high levels of dissolved-solids (hard water). Apply a winter mulch of pine needles, peat moss, or other acidic mulch. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pogonia ophioglossoides, commonly called snakemouth orchid or rose pogonia, is a herbaceous, perennial orchid with a wide but scattered native distribution across much of south-central and southeastern Canada and the central and eastern United States. This plant is mainly found growing in bogs, fens, moist prairies and meadows, swamps, pine savannas, stream banks, roadside depressions, and other moist, open habitats. Mature plants can reach between 1-2' tall and can spread by above ground runners and offsets to slowly form large colonies under ideal conditions. Achieving such large colonies in cultivation is difficult, and clumps will typically reach up to 2-3' in size. Flowering stems emerge in early to mid-summer bearing a single (or rarely two), 1" wide, pink (rarely white), fragrant flowers. The lower lip petal has dark pink fringes and yellow to white center markings. Halfway up the stem there is a single, clasping, elliptic to lanceolate shaped leaf that can reach 4" long and 1" wide. A second leaf may sometimes be present at the base of the plant. The flowers are mainly pollinated by bumblebees.

Genus name comes from the Greek word pogonias meaning bearded for the fringed lip.

The specific epithet ophioglossoides means "resembling Ophioglossum", a genus of ferns. Most species in this genus have a single, clasping leaf from which the fertile frond emerges.

The common name snakemouth orchid most likely refers to the appearance of the lower lip petal of the flower, which has dark pink fringes and yellow to white center markings. The common name rose pogonia refers to the color of the blooms.


No major pest or disease problems of note.


Bog gardens or bog containers. Wild populations are threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Only purchase nursery propagated plants from reputable growers.