General: evergreen, perennial herb, mostly 25-40 cm tall, stems stiffly erect, glandular-hairy, from short, creeping rhizomes, sometimes forming colonies.
Leaves: in basal rosette, the stalks winged and broad, 5-20 mm long, the blades ovate- lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, thickish, mostly 3-7 cm long, dark green but usually somewhat mottled or striped with white veins, especially along the midrib.
Flowers: pale greenish-white, short-hairy, many in a tall, dense, slender spike, up to 12 cm long, the flowers mostly on 1 side, almost stalkless, each with a ovate- lanceolate bract at base, 4-10 mm long. Upper sepal touching the fused side petals, forming a forward-pointing hood 6-10 mm long, with a slightly bent up tip. Side sepals free, slightly shorter than the hood, ovate- lanceolate, bent back at the tips. Lip small, swollen and concave at base. Flowering stem softly glandular-hairy, with 2-4 small, membranous, non-green, sheathing bracts.
In dry to mossy or damp, open to dense forest, in w. and c. parts of MT Also from AK, in most of w. U.S. and to Mexico, and to MI, WI, MN, and ME.
A tea of rattlesnake plantain has been used as a tonic. The Okanagan-Colville Indians made a poultice of softened leaves and applied it to cuts and sores. the Coast Salish Indians used a tea of leaves in the bathwater of sprinters and canoers as a liniment for stiff muscles.
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