Cover photos credit: Allen Woodliffe (All photos)



“Endangered” means the species lives in the wild in Ontario but is facing imminent extinction or extirpation.

Date added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List

The Nodding pogonia was already assessed as endangered when the Endangered Species Act

Read the Assessment Report

What it looks like

Nodding pogonia is a small orchid that reaches five to 31 centimetres in height. It typically has one or more small rounded leaves that clasp the stem.

Nodding pogonia typically produces one to three whitish-pink flowers in late summer, but only in years when the conditions are favourable. The fruit is an erect, green capsule.

Where it lives

In Ontario, Nodding pogonia is found in rich, moist deciduous forests with a well-developed tree canopy and a deep layer of leaf litter.

Where it’s been found in Ontario

Nodding pogonia ranges from New England to Ontario, and south to Texas and Florida.

In Canada, Nodding pogonia is found only in southwestern Ontario, and only at two sites.

At one of those sites, it has not been seen in more than 20 years.

map of nodding pogonia range

View a Larger version of this map (PDF)

What threatens it

Threats to Nodding pogonia in Canada include trampling, soil compaction, collection, changes in forest canopy from tree cutting and storms, and changes in soil moisture.

Invasive species, such as exotic earthworms and Garlic mustard, may also be having a negative impact on the species.

Action we are taking

Endangered Species and their general habitat are automatically protected.

Recovery strategy

A recovery strategy advises the ministry on ways to ensure healthy numbers of the species return to Ontario.

Read the executive summary (January 1, 2013)

Read the recovery strategy (January 1, 2013)

Government response statement

A government response statement outlines the actions the government intends to take or support to help recover the species.

Read the government response statement (October 11, 2013)

Five-year review of progress

A five-year review of progress made toward protecting and recovering a species is required no later than five years after the government response statement for that species is published.

Read the report on progress towards the protection and recovery of 17 species at risk, including the Nodding Pogonia (2018).

Habitat protection

General Habitat Protection - June 30, 2008

What you can do

Report a sighting

  • Report a sighting of an endangered animal or plant to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.


Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.

Be a good steward

  • private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery; if you find Nodding pogonia on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats
  • invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit:
  • the Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk; Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats; for more information, visit:
  • pollinators, such as bees, are in steep decline across the globe and they play a key role in the survival of many of Ontario’s rare plants; for information on how you can help scientists monitor pollinator populations in Ontario visit:

Report illegal activity

Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPSMNR (8477667).

Quick facts

  • as do all orchids, Nodding pogonia has a symbiotic relationship with fungus found in the soil, which means they are interdependent for nourishment and survival. The Nodding pogonia will only produce seeds if the necessary fungus is present in the soil
  • the seeds of Nodding pogonia are dispersed by the wind
  • orchids can remain dormant in the soil before emerging when the conditions are suitable