ADAM AND EVE PUTTYROOT
(Aplectrum spicatum; A. hyemale of Gray)) Orchid family
Flowers - Dingy yellowish brown and purplish, about 1 in. long,
each on a short pedicel, in a few-flowered, loose, bracted raceme
2 to 4 in. long. No spur; sepals and petals similar, small
narrow, the lip wavy-edged. Scape: to 2 ft. high, smooth, with
about 3 sheathing scales. Leaf: Solitary, rising from the corm in
autumn, elliptic, broad, plaited-nerved, 4 to 6 in. long. Root: A
corm usually attached to one of the preceding season.
Preferred Habitat - Moist woods or swamps.
Flowering Season - May-June.
Distribution - Georgia, Missouri, and California northward, into
More curious than beautiful is this small orchid whose dingy
flowers of indefinite color and without spurs interest us far
less than the two corms barely hidden below ground. These
singular solid bulbs, about an inch thick, are connected by a
slender stalk, suggesting to the imaginative person who named the
plant our first parents standing hand in hand in the Garden of
But usually several old corms - not always two, by any means -
remain attached to the nearest one, a bulb being produced each
year until Cain and Abel often join Adam and Eve to make up quite
a family group. A strong, glutinous matter within the corms has
been used as a cement, hence the plant's other popular name. From
the newest bulb added, a solitary large leaf arises in late
summer or autumn, to remain all winter. The flower stalk comes up
at one side of it the following spring. Meantime the old corms
retain their life, apparently to help nourish the young one still
joined to them, while its system is taxed with flowering.
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