Perennial herb from slender rhizomes, with fibrous roots; stems 7-25 cm tall, with 2 leaves, smooth or slightly hairy above.
Two, usually below middle of stem, opposite, broadly egg- to kidney-shaped, 1-4 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, smooth, heart-shaped at base, abruptly pointed at tip.
Inflorescence a few- to several-flowered, terminal raceme, the flowers yellowish-green to pur plish or maroon; sepals 2-3 mm long, egg-shaped; petals similar to sepals, 1.5-2.5 mm long; lip 3-6 mm long, linear to oblong, deeply cleft into 2 linear-lanceolate lobes, with 2 awl-like teeth at base; column 0.5-1.5 mm long.
Capsules, spreading, egg-shaped, 4-6 mm long.
Some authors have recognized two varieties, the northwest cordilleran var. nephrophylla and the widespread, circumboreal var. cordata, based on leaf size and flower colour and size. But we concur with Calder & Taylor (1968) that there is significant overlap in these characters and in the range of the forms, thus distinct taxa are not warranted.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Listera cordata (L.) R. Br.
1. Lips deeply cleft into two linear pointed lobes................L. cordata
1. Lips entire or shallowly cleft into blunt lobes.
2. Lips rectangular or oblong, with rounded lobes at base, without a pair of lateral teeth................L. borealis
2. Lips wedge-shaped, with a pair of lateral teeth, no lobes at base.
3. Ovaries glabrous; lips with a long slender tooth on each side at the base, not hairy-margined...................L. caurina
3. Ovaries slightly glandular-hairy; lips with a short triangular tooth on each side at the base, finely hairy-margined.................L. convallarioides
Source The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia