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

Listera borealis Morong
northern twayblade
Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #56230)

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Distribution of Listera borealis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes, with fibrous roots; stems 5-20 cm tall, with 2 leaves, glandular-hairy above.
Two, near middle of stem, roughly opposite, egg-shaped to elliptic, 1-6 cm long, 0.7-3 cm wide, abruptly tapered to base, smooth.
Inflorescence a somewhat open, few-flowered, terminal raceme, the flowers green or yellowish-green; sepals broadly lanceolate, 4-7 mm long, 1-veined, distinct; petals similar to sepals, 4-6 mm long; lip 8-13 mm long, 5-7 mm wide at tip, broadly oblong, widely notched at tip, with 2 rounded lobes at base.
Capsules, spreading, egg-shaped, to 5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist coniferous forests, edges of streams and meadows in the montane to subalpine zones; infrequent in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and S to CO, UT, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Listera borealis

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) 10 1140 2020
Slope Gradient (%) 0 13 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 286 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 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: BWBS(12), CWH(9), ESSF(30), ICH(35), IDF(4), MS(15), SBPS(6), SBS(33), SWB(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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Neottia borealis (Morong) Szlach.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References