Herb: Western Rattlesnake Plantain

Latin name: Goodyera oblongifolia

Synonyms: Goodyera decipiens, Goodyera menziesii, Peramium decipiens

Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)

Medicinal use of Western Rattlesnake Plantain:

An infusion of the plants has been used as a tonic. A poultice of the softened leaves has been applied to cuts and sores. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the bath water for treating stiff muscles.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)


Habitat of the herb:

Deep leaf litter and shade of dry coniferous or mixed woods.

Edible parts of Western Rattlesnake Plantain:

An exudation from the plant is used as a chewing gum.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division is best carried out in the spring. Each division should have a leading point and two, or preferably three, joints of the rhizome. More propagating material can be obtained by cutting halfway through the rhizome during the previous growing season at the point where you wish to divide. This will stimulate the production of growth buds at the point of division.

Cultivation of Western Rattlesnake Plantain:

Deep leaf litter and shade of dry coniferous or mixed woods.

Known hazards of Goodyera oblongifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.