Cleistes is a genus of plants in the orchids (family Orchidaceae) belonging to the subfamily Vanilloideae the same family which provides the vanilla bean of commerce. They are native to North and South America. The common names are Rosebud Orchid and Small Spreading Pogonia.
This is a terrestrial orchid with an underground network of spreading fibrous roots. It is found in small clusters of single flowering stems, each with a single leaf blade about half way up the 30 – 45 cm stem. A smaller floral bract clasps around the base of the flower and appears as a second smaller leaf blade. The flower has three brown-green sepals spreading upward from the stem. Two upper petals and a lip below form the flower tube.
In the United States Cleistes is native to the southeast. It flowers in the spring (April to May along coastal plain area and around July in the mountains. It prefers savannas, meadows, openings woodlands, where the soil is acidic and moist and made up of rotting pine or other organic material, such as a boggy pine woodland. In the mountains that habitat may be xeric.
The plants are commonly up to 30 to 45 centimeters in height. The flower 2–3 cm across, depending on species.
* Cleistes divaricata - Rosebud Orchid. Distribution in states along the Atlantic seaboard from southern New Jersey to the norther most counties of Florida. It is listed as federally threatened or endangered species depending on the state.
* Gregg, K. B. 1989. Reproductive biology of the orchid Cleistes divaricata (L.) Ames var. bifaria Fernald growing in a West Virginia meadow. Castanea 54: 57–78.
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License