Puttyroot

Aplectrum hyemale

Puttyroot leaf

One of a surprising number of orchids native to Indiana. Notable for the single leaf that overwinters, adding a bit of color to the otherwise muted winter palette of our woodlands. The leaf dies back during the spring, and only then do some (not most) of the plants send forth a stalk with rather inconspicuous tan- or putty-colored flowers. I virtually never see puttyroot flowers unless I stake out a patch during the winter when the leaves are conspicuous, and even then it can be a challenge.