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"Rattlesnake plantain"

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Another of the native orchids Herrick Brown, curator of the A C Moore Herbarium at U S C talked about when he joined us for a program was the rattlesnake plantain. Why rattlesnake? Because the basal rosette of green leaves which have a very prominent white midrib and also white veins -- reminded someone of a rattlesnake’s coloration. Why Plantain – it’s not related to that banana group member, but it grows similarly to the plantain lawn weed. So that’s why common names can be very misleading, and we should use scientific names – in this case Goodyera pubescens. Goodyera species occur on many continents and widely in the U S and Canada. Our Goodyera, found in nearly all parts of our state, has the specific name of pubescens as the leaves are covered with downy white hairs.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.