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Goodyera repens.jpg
Goodyera repens, commonly called "creeping lady's tresses"
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Cranichideae
Subtribe: Goodyerinae
Genus: Goodyera

Goodyera, commonly called rattlesnake plantain,[2] jade orchids[3] or ladies' tresses[4] is a wide-ranging genus of orchids in the tribe Cranichideae. About 100 species of Goodyera have been formally described. With a center of diversity in East Asia, Goodyera is found across Europe, Madeira, North and Central America, Australia, and on islands from the west Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. They have a rosette of leaves at their base and usually many small white resupinate flowers. They are similar to orchids in the genus Spiranthes but can be distinguished from them by the shape and colour patterns of the leaves.


Plants in the genus Goodyera are mainly terrestrial plants with a fleshy, creeping rhizome and a loose rosette of leaves at the base of a flowering stem with many small, resupinate flowers. The leaves are elliptic, characteristically asymmetrical and green with white or pale green markings. The entire plant apart from the flowers is covered with slightly sticky hairs. The dorsal sepal and petals overlap, forming a hood over the column and the lateral sepals spread widely. The labellum is not lobed but has a small pouch. Orchids in the genus Spiranthes are similar but Spiranthes lack rhizomes, have flat, non-pouched labella, and display plain green leaves.[2][3]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

The genus Goodyera was first formally described in 1813 by Robert Brown and the description was published in William Aiton's Hortus Kewensis.[1] The genus name honours John Goodyer.[4][5]

Generic delimitation of Goodyera remains problematic, with some authors providing evidence to support a narrower circumscription of the genus.[6][7]

The genus is abbreviated G. in horticultural nomenclature.[8]


With a center of diversity in East Asia, Goodyera is found across Europe, Madeira, North and Central America, Australia, and on islands from the west Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.[1]

List of species[edit]

The following is a list of species of Goodyera recognised by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as at August 2018:[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Goodyera". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  2. ^ a b "Genus: Goodyera". North American Orchid Conservation Centre. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b Jones, David L. (2006). A complete guide to native orchids of Australia including the island territories. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: New Holland. pp. 347–348. ISBN 1877069124.
  4. ^ a b "Goodyera". Pacific Bulb Society. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  5. ^ "The John Goodyer collection of botanical books". Magdalen College: University of Oxford. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. ^ Pace, Matthew C. (September 2020). "A recircumscription of Goodyera (Orchidaceae), including the description of Paorchis gen. nov., and resurrection of Cionisaccus, Eucosia, and Salacistis". Brittonia. 72 (3): 257–267. doi:10.1007/s12228-020-09623-y. ISSN 0007-196X.
  7. ^ Schlechter, R. "Die Orchidaceen von Deutsch-Neu-Guinea". Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis, Beihefte. 1: 1–1079.
  8. ^ Alphabetical List of Standard Abbreviations for Natural and Hybrid Generic Names, Royal Horticultural Society, 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Goodyera at Wikimedia Commons