Arethusa bulbosa - L.
Dragon's-mouth
Other Common Names: dragon's mouth
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Arethusa bulbosa L. (TSN 43491)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.142646
Element Code: PMORC04010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Orchid Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Orchidales Orchidaceae Arethusa
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Arethusa bulbosa
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Jun2014
Global Status Last Changed: 04Jun2014
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: The range of this species is broad, and large populations occur in the northern Great Lakes region. Populations fluctuate dramatically from year to year, however, and they are declining in the United States because of habitat destruction and over-collecting.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4?
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (25Oct2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SH), Delaware (SH), District of Columbia (SH), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SX), Maine (S3S4), Maryland (SX), Massachusetts (S2), Michigan (S3S4), Minnesota (S4), New Hampshire (S2), New Jersey (S2), New York (S2), North Carolina (S1), Ohio (S1), Pennsylvania (S1), Rhode Island (S1), South Carolina (SH), Vermont (S1), Virginia (SH), Wisconsin (S4)
Canada Labrador (S1), Manitoba (S2), New Brunswick (S4), Newfoundland Island (S4S5), Nova Scotia (S4), Ontario (S4S5), Prince Edward Island (S2), Quebec (S3), Saskatchewan (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Dragon's mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa) occurs from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and Saskatchewan, and south to Maryland, northern Indiana and in the Appalachian Mountains to North and South Carolina. The species is disjunct in Louisiana. The distribution of Arethusa is patchy throughout much of this range, especially in the south.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Seventy-one occurrences in Minnesota alone. The species is most common in Canada.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Alteration of the hydrologic regime is likely the worst threat to this species. Also damaging are over-collection of flowers, succession and overshading by woody species, invasion of wetlands by exotic plant species, and human trampling of loose moss. Late frosts may also injure Arethusa bulbosa because this species flowers in early spring and relies on seed production for propagation (Case 1987).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: A. bulbosa is declining in population size over much of its range (much of the United States other than Minnesota).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Undergoes local extirpation from habitat loss, especially in the southern part of its range.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Dragon's mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa) occurs from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and Saskatchewan, and south to Maryland, northern Indiana and in the Appalachian Mountains to North and South Carolina. The species is disjunct in Louisiana. The distribution of Arethusa is patchy throughout much of this range, especially in the south.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, DC, DE, IL, INextirpated, MA, MDextirpated, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT, WI
Canada LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001)*, Hartford (09003)*, Litchfield (09005)*, Middlesex (09007)*, New Haven (09009)*, New London (09011)*, Tolland (09013)*
IN Kosciusko (18085)*, Lake (18089)*, Steuben (18151)*, Wells (18179)*
MA Barnstable (25001)*, Berkshire (25003)*, Bristol (25005)*, Dukes (25007), Essex (25009), Franklin (25011)*, Hampden (25013)*, Hampshire (25015), Middlesex (25017), Nantucket (25019)*, Norfolk (25021), Plymouth (25023)*, Suffolk (25025)*, Worcester (25027)
MD Montgomery (24031)*, Prince Georges (24033)*
MN Aitkin (27001), Beltrami (27007), Carlton (27017), Cass (27021), Chisago (27025)*, Cook (27031), Hennepin (27053)*, Hubbard (27057), Itasca (27061), Koochiching (27071), Lake (27075), Lake of the Woods (27077), Pennington (27113), Roseau (27135), St. Louis (27137), Wadena (27159)
NC Alleghany (37005), Ashe (37009)*, Avery (37011), Henderson (37089)*, Transylvania (37175)
NH Belknap (33001)*, Carroll (33003), Cheshire (33005), Coos (33007), Grafton (33009), Hillsborough (33011)*, Merrimack (33013), Rockingham (33015)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Ocean (34029)
NY Cayuga (36011)*, Columbia (36021)*, Essex (36031), Genesee (36037), Jefferson (36045), Lewis (36049), Orange (36071)*, Oswego (36075), Saratoga (36091)*, Suffolk (36103), Ulster (36111)*, Warren (36113), Washington (36115)*, Wayne (36117)*
OH Portage (39133)
PA Adams (42001), Chester (42029)*, Crawford (42039)*, Cumberland (42041)*, Erie (42049), Fayette (42051)*, Lancaster (42071)*, Lebanon (42075)*, Northampton (42095)*, Sullivan (42113)*, Susquehanna (42115)*, Wayne (42127)
RI Kent (44003), Providence (44007), Washington (44009)
SC Greenville (45045)*, Pickens (45077)*
VA Augusta (51015)*
VT Addison (50001), Bennington (50003), Caledonia (50005), Chittenden (50007)*, Franklin (50011), Orleans (50019)*, Washington (50023), Windsor (50027)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper Androscoggin (01040001)+, Saco (01060002)+*, Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Merrimack (01070002)+, Contoocook (01070003)+, Nashua (01070004)+*, Concord (01070005)+*, Merrimack (01070006)+*, Waits (01080103)+, Upper Connecticut-Mascoma (01080104)+*, White (01080105)+, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+, West (01080107)+*, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Chicopee (01080204)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Farmington (01080207)+*, Charles (01090001)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Blackstone (01090003)+, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Shetucket (01100002)+*, Thames (01100003)+*, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+*, Saugatuck (01100006)+*
02 Upper Hudson (02020001)+, Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+, Mohawk (02020004)+*, Middle Hudson (02020006)+*, Rondout (02020007)+*, Hudson-Wappinger (02020008)+*, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+*, Northern Long Island (02030201)+*, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Upper Delaware (02040101)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)+*, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+*, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+*, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+*, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+*, Patuxent (02060006)+*, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+*, Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010)+*
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Saluda (03050109)+*
04 Baptism-Brule (04010101)+, Beaver-Lester (04010102)+, St. Louis (04010201)+, Cloquet (04010202)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+*, St. Joseph (04100003)+*, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Lake Erie (04120200)+*, Lower Genesee (04130003)+, Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101)+, Salmon-Sandy (04140102)+, Seneca (04140201)+*, Oneida (04140202)+, Chaumont-Perch (04150102)+, Indian (04150303)+, Mettawee River (04150401)+*, Winooski River (04150403)+, Saranac River (04150406)+, Missiquoi River (04150407)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+, St. Francois River (04150500)+*
05 French (05010004)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+*, Shenango (05030102)+*, Upper New (05050001)+, Salamonie (05120102)+*, Tippecanoe (05120106)+*
06 Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+
07 Mississippi Headwaters (07010101)+, Leech Lake (07010102)+, Prairie-Willow (07010103)+, Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+, Crow Wing (07010106)+, Twin Cities (07010206)+*, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+*, Kettle (07030003)+, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+*, Chicago (07120003)+*
09 Red Lakes (09020302)+, Red Lake (09020303)+, Roseau (09020314)+, Rainy Headwaters (09030001)+, Vermilion (09030002)+, Little Fork (09030005)+, Big Fork (09030006)+, Rapid (09030007)+, Lower Rainy (09030008)+, Lake of the Woods (09030009)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small (6-40 cm) scapose, perennial orchid with a solitary (rarely two) magenta flower (bluish and white flower forms also occur), arising from a bulb-like (rarely double) tuber.
Technical Description: Lateral sepals erect, middle sepal and side petals forming a hood over the lip. Lip oblong, pale pink, streaked with magenta-crimson and with distinctive "hairs". Leaf solitary, lanceolate, developing after the flower fades. The column is elongate, flattened with lateral wings, erose at the apex, pink 2-3.5 x 7-10 mm; anther on the front below the apex with two pairs of soft yellow-green pollinia. The fruit is an ellipsoid, erect capsule, 2.5 x 1.5 cm, (Luer 1975, Brackley pers. commm., Gawler 1982, Fernald 1950).
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Arethusa flowers during the first 2 weeks of June (rarely in May). This species propagates by seed, although Thien and Marcks (1972) report that only 16% of the flowers observed developed into mature capsules. Arethusa is pollinated by bumblebees (of the genus Bombus (Apidae)). Thien and Marcks (1972) reported that 95% of Arethusa yielded seeds with embryos when hand-pollinated. It would appear that pollination in the wild does not occur frequently. According to Case (1964) Arethusa reproduces vegetatively very slowly by spreading from the bulb-like tuber. However, Gawler and Vickery (pers. comm.) found evidence that many Arethusa at the Great Heath (Washington Co., Me) spread vegetatively by tubers.
Ecology Comments: This element is an early successional species, disappearing as its habitat becomes invaded by shrubs. Arethusa is commonly associated with such minerotrophs as alder, sweet gale (Myrica gale), several sedges (Carex spp.), bog rosemary and leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata). Although this species has traditionally been classified as a plant of "sphagnous bogs", it actually occupies a variety of habitats, which exhibit a wide variety of minerotrophic conditions.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen
Habitat Comments: The preferred habitat of Arethusa bulbosa is acidic, Sphagnum hummocks within marl fens, often in openings among white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) trees (Case, pers. comm. 1995). Most frequently, this species grows in open wet sphagnous bogs, in full sunlight. It is most abundant in coastal raised bogs. In Crystal Bog Preserve, the large Arethusa population is restricted to the fen area, growing in close association with bog rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla - a minerotrophic member of the heath family (Ericaceae)). According to Vickery (pers. comm.) and Gawler (1982), Arethusa also grows around the shores of ponds and in wet meadows. Gawler (1982) reports that Arethusa prefers minerotrophic habitats. S. C. Rooney (MEFO) recently discovered this element growing in an alder (Alnus rugosa) lagg near a fen and again in the summer of 1983 in a wet portion of Chemo Bog, a large open ombrotrophic peatland in central Maine. Both of these sites were extremely minerotrophic.
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Early americans used the corms of Arethusa as a remedy for toothaches. Thier extreme beauty has led to a high desirability for collection, and many populations have been depleted or extirpated.
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: 1. Demographic studies of Arethusa populations on TNC Preserves. 2. Establish permanent cutting plots to reduce shrub invasion of Arethusa habitat. 3. Water chemistry and hydrology studies (acid rain may be a threat) on all TNC Preserves.
Restoration Potential: A search of the literature provides no specific information on this subject. However, knowledge of the habitat requirements combined with sound management practices might accomplish a recovery over a long period of time. Given Arethusa's generally poor incidence of setting fruit in the wild and slow vegetative spread (Case 1964), recovery would be slow at best.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Attempts to protect this element must include enough buffer zone to protect the hydrological integrity of the habitat.
Management Requirements: Habitat maintenance through cutting of shrubs invading Arethusa habitat.

Cutting of shrubs during winter to reduce possible harmful effects of trampling Arethusa tubers.

Monitoring Requirements: Populations of Arethusa at Crystal Bog Preserve should be monitored on a long term basis, as shrub invasion is occurring on the fringes of the habitat. Presently, the population appears to be fairly stable, with some evidence of increase (Rooney 1983).

When long term monitoring of Arethusa is carried out the following should be considered: 1. On-the-site updating of the demography of the populations during anthesis. 2. Water chemistry--specifically calcium ions. 3. Effects of shrub invasion on the population. 4. Acid rain levels. 5. Water drainage patterns.

Monitoring Programs: S. C. Rooney, B. St. J. Vickery and S. C. Gawler know of extant populations in Maine. S. C. Rooney and C. S. McKellar have been conducting general monitoring in the fen at Crystal Bog Preserve, Maine, since 1978.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Feb1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: K. Crowley, MRO (1995); orig. S.C. Rooney (1984)
Management Information Edition Date: 19Jul1984
Management Information Edition Author: S. C. ROONEY, MEFO
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Jul1984
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): S. C. ROONEY, MEFO

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.