Western rattlesnake plantain or more appropriately, rattlesnake orchid, is found in western North America from Alaska to Mexico and in eastern Canada and the USA. Early settlers mistook the plant for plantain due to the similar leaf shape, but Goodyera oblongifolia is an orchid. These shots were taken over the Canada Day weekend on a hike at Smuggler’s Cove Provincial Park. The rosettes of persistent leaves are easy to spot once you first notice them. Several plants in the park were sending up flower spikes, so flowers should be out for observation very soon. Although, for this species, I think the leaf markings are the better show.
The orchid can grow to form small mats in forest environments, often under conifers. The rosettes are small with leaves 3-7 cm and the flower spike rises to 30+ cm. Few historical uses for the plant are mentioned, but the Washington Native Orchid Society mentions some medicinal use and the curious use as a balloon like toy: “Stl’al’imx children used the leaves as balloons by rubbing them until the top layers separated and blowing through the stem to inflate them.” And Plants For a Future mentions the use of its exudation as a chewing gum.