I found this plant growing wild in a swampy woodland last March. Any idea what it could be?


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  • To my eye it resembles ramsons (Allium ursinum) but you wouldn't get that species in north america. Could it be Allium tricoccum perhaps? Jan 26 at 11:13
  • 1
    Thank you, but no. I harvest Allium tricoccum regularly from the wild (they're delicious), and they lack the strong veining pattern on the leaves. They do not grow from a central stem as the plant in the photo does - instead the leaves come from the bulb just below ground level.
    – Kilobyte
    Jan 26 at 13:49

Note how the leaves have a particular kind of vein arrangement, all curving in tune with the shape of the leaf, not the more complex branching arrangement from a main vein we see in the higher plants. This puts it in the same broad classification as corn and grasses and onions and orchids and other monocots. With the clumping at first it looks like a Hosta (also a monocot) but given the wild location it is more likely a lady's slipper orchid; they bloom in mid spring, say May.

  • Thank you! I didn't realize this vein structure is associated with monocots only. This plant does look like the lady's slipper orchids that pop up when I search online. I'll keep an eye on the plant this year and see if I can confirm the identification.
    – Kilobyte
    Jan 26 at 13:30

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