Isotria medeoloides
Smaller whorled pogonia
Image of Isotria medeoloides

Photo by Susan R. Crispin 

Key Characteristics

Small orchid (5-20 cm) of swampy woods; superficially similar to cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) with 5-6 whorled leaves, but stem glabrous, glaucous and hollow; flower sessile with 3 short green sepals and a white lip.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • US Status: LT
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G2?


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Isotria medeoloides

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


The smaller whorled pogonia is known from a single locality in southwest Lower Michigan in low flat woods. It has not been seen in many years despite thorough surveys by expert botanists, though it may persist in other unsurveyed localities.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Silver maple, red maple, swamp white oak, cinnamon fern, royal fern, skunk cabbage, marsh-marigold, mosses, sensitive fern, black ash, American elm, white ash, red ash, tamarack, red maple, yellow birch, spicebush, and prickly ash.


Prevent excessive logging and minimize human impact. Additional surveys in suitable habitat in the vicinity of the original collection are recommended.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 25, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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