E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Malaxis brachypoda (A. Gray) Fernald
white adder's-mouth orchid (one-leaved malaxis)
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #88985)

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Distribution of Malaxis brachypoda
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from bulblike bases (corms) to 8 mm across, with a few fibrous roots; stems 10-20 cm tall, leafless, smooth, pale green.
One, near base, egg-shaped to elliptic, 2-10 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, light green, keeled on back, the sheathing stalk 2-3 cm long.
Inflorescence a loosely-flowered, terminal, spikelike raceme, the flowers small, greenish-white, the flower stalks about 2.5 mm long; bracts about 1.5 mm long, lanceolate; sepals 1-2 mm long, the upper erect, narrowly egg-shaped, the lateral 2 narrowly lanceolate, somewhat curved behind the lip; petals 1-2 mm long, linear, bent back, pointed at tips; lip 2 mm long and wide, drooping downward, broadly triangular, the base heart-shaped, the tip beaked; column less than 1 mm long.
Capsules, ellipsoid, erect, to 5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist forests, mudflats, fens and streambanks in the lowland and montane zones; rare in coastal and N BC; N to AK, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, IN, IL, MN and disjunct in CO and CA; Japan.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Malaxis brachypoda

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 390 640 890
Slope Gradient (%) 2 2 3
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
50 119 190
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 6 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(1), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Malaxis monophyllos subsp. brachypoda (A. Gray) A. Löve & D. Löve
Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda (A. Gray) F. Morris & Eames

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References