Goodyera pubescens is a small, low herb 20-40 cm tall in flower. Like all orchids, Goodyera roots are associated with specialized mycorrhizal fungi.
Leaves in a basal rosette, each with a broad white midrib and each vein lined with white or greenish- white; broadly elliptic to broadly egg-shaped, 2.1–6.2 cm long, 1.3–3 cm wide, tip pointed to blunt.
Flowers white, bilaterally symmetrical, overall shape rounded, about 0.5 cm long and wide, 3 white sepals 3 white petals but , upper lip hood-shaped, lower petals fused in a sack-like shape, overall however, the flower is distinctly orchid-shaped; inflorescence is a spike, densely flowered, on a stalk 11-35 cm long; blooms July-Sept (see Flora of North America www.eFloras.org 2017).
Fruit a dry 3-parted capsule, seeds powder-like, wind dispersed. In order to germinate, a seed must join with an appropriate fungus.
Wetland status: FACU
Frequency in NYC: very infrequent.
Habitat: Woodlands with acid soil; mostly on moist humus soils in shady, upland woods. Found throughout the eastern United States and Canada. (Flora of North America www.eFloras.org 2017)
Notes: As with all wild orchids, Goodyera should NEVER be collected from the wild since it is very slow to regenerate and will almost never survive transplanting.