What’s This?

“What’s This?”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


There has been a mystery plant that has been showing up every now and then around here that really has me puzzled.  It has only been showing up for about  three years now. I usually shows up in the lawn, and only one at a time.  Sometimes only one a year rarely more than two.  It is hard to spot in the lawn, because the tiny white flowers sometimes make it look like the sun is reflecting off a blade of grass, so you have to do a double take to make sure you actually saw some white.  The stalk is only about three inches high, has tiny white bell-shaped flowers, and looks like it could be a thick blade of grass.

This year it has shown up in the circle garden, so I was able to get a better look and a photo.  Here it is next to some yellow violas that should help show the size of this mystery plant.  It is just a stalk, no leaves yet.




I have looked this up in all my wildflower books and can come up with nothing.  I have only seen this in the spring, or I should say I have only seen the flowers in the spring.  It evidently has little foliage interest because I never have noticed anything growing in the lawn after sprintime  (or maybe the lawn mower cuts it down?).   This little plant has sparked a big curiosity in me.  I am dying to know what this is after seeing it around for three years.  It is amazing how a plant will  just shows up all of a sudden.  If anybody has any ideas as to what this could be, let me know.



  1. tina said,

    February 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    No idea, sorry.

  2. Racquel said,

    February 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I have no idea Jan. The bell shaped flowers remind me of Hyacinths though. I’ll be back to see if anyone was able to id it for you.

  3. Janet said,

    February 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Jan, I was intrigued by this flower, so did some Google searching. I am not sure if I am close. One possibility is Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain. I know you said there is little foliage to make an assessment… but look at this link.http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/goodyeratess.html Another thought is this one.. http://delawarewildflowers.org/plant.php?id=1291&mode=O but I don’t see the shape of the unopened bloom. The downside of the checkered rattlesnake…it shouldn’t be that far south.
    So in a nutshell…. I give up.

  4. February 12, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Is that safed Musli???Hmmm…. Looks like a tiny chilli flower, but… I’m confused… I give up for now, but that’s quite a challenge! Can you post a close-up? May be, with the leaves too? I’m now curious to find out…

  5. Melanthia said,

    February 13, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Sorry I can’t help. I first glance I thought snowdrop or something. It sure looks sweet, though.

  6. nancybond said,

    February 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Not a clue, but like the others, I’m intrigued now. Maybe from another angle?

  7. Brenda Kula said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I usually rely on you to tell me what plants are! Sorry, I don’t know either.

  8. Patty said,

    February 13, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Could it be a White Bog Orchid (Habenaria dilatata) ? I saw a picture of one and it looks similar, but I can’t tell if yours gets taller than it is. They usually are at least 6 inches tall at full bloom. I am curious too.

  9. Jon said,

    February 14, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Off the top of my head I think it might be “Hepatica acutiloba” or “Hepatica americana” which are in the diverse buttercup family of wildflowers. At our homeplace in the country, the front lawn was about 5 acres, and it looked like a field of snow when untold thousands of these tiny white flowers bloomed in early spring. It was a family tradition for several generations NEVER to mow the lawn until after these “Star Weeds”…as my grandmother called them… had finished blooming and had been given a chance to go to seed. Put some stakes by your plants to save them from your lawn mower if you want to let them multiply….or do as we did….just delay the first mowing til after they have finished blooming and have gone to seed. They are only about 3 or 4 inches tall anyway so let ’em naturalize…they are worth it.

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

  10. guild-rez said,

    February 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

    My guess is ..
    CASCADE CRANE ORCHID [W] Habenaria dilatata ssp. elegans (white)
    Orchidaceae, Orchid Family
    – Cheers.

  11. Isaac said,

    February 15, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    It’s a soldier’s orchid (Zeuxine strateumatica). They’ve popped in my flower beds and seemed to have hopped a ride through the mulch.


    • Jan said,

      February 15, 2009 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks, Isaac, for solving my mystery. I was on the Internet for about an hour yesterday, and I did find some plants that were orchids that seemed similar to the plant growing in my garden, but they weren’t quite right. After looking at your link, that is definitely what is growing here. Thanks again.

  12. Jan said,

    February 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks to everyone who left a comment and tried to help me find out what this plant was. I looked at everyone’s suggestion, but it wasn’t until Isaac’s comment that I found the answer. Helping others find the right information is one of the great thing about blogging.

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