Listera (Neottia) cordata var. nephrophylla - Western Heart-leaved Twayblade

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Listera cordata var nephrophylla - Western Heart-leaved Twayblade

Very similar in appearance to Neottia (Listera in America) cordata, this orchid is differentiated by its overall green colour, and also because it is slightly larger than its diminutive relative, Neottia cordata (Listera cordata var. cordata in America), which has a copper-coloured tinge to its flowers and the stems. Both species flower in America.

Western Heart-flowered Twayblade grows in somewhat drier habitats than Neottia cordata and reaches around 10 cm in height. Its range extends from the Rocky Mountains, north to Alaska and west to California, but it is less common and hard to find due to its small size and colouring.

There are many more species of Listera (Neottia) growing in America than in Europe where only three species are found: Common Twayblade - Neottia ovata, Lesser Twayblade - Neottia cordata and Bird's-nest Orchid - Neottia nidus-avis

Western Heart-leaved Twayblad

The name twayblade refers to the pair of heart-shaped leaves (two blades) near the base of the plant. The flower spike is usually between 5 and 10 cm tall and the individual flowers are green. It flowers in July.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park in mid-July on one of the high altitude trails.


The subspecies name nephrophylla means 'with kidney-shaped leaves'.

If you found this information helpful, we are sure you would also like books on the Wild Orchids of Wales, of The Burren, and of the Algarve. Author-signed copies are available here...

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