Very few Whorled Pogonia plants flowered in 2010, but of the four individuals that did only two appeared to have been fertilized as noted by the developing seed heads.
Whorled pogonia may only spread successfully by their root system, judging by the sparse seed output this year and total lack of flower production in prior years. Would that mean that the flowers of whorled pogonia are self-fertile, like those of the Box Huckleberry of Pennsylvania?
Photo above taken 31 May 2010.
Photo above taken 16 June 2010.
Although not federally endangered like its cousin the Small Whorled Pogonia, Isotria medeoloides, Whorled Pogonia, I. verticillata, is listed for protection in a handful of states. New York lists this orchid as vulnerable, Vermont and Michigan list it as threatened, New Hampshire, Illinois and Florida list it as endangered, and Maine lists it as possibly extirpated. Evidently, the Large Whorled Pogonia is being squeezed at the extremes of its natural range, possibly due to habitat loss.