Plants (12-)15-46(-64) cm (in flower). Leaves: blades on flowering stems, (2.5-)45-145 × (4-)6-25 mm. Flowers: sepals 24-55 × (2-)3-5 mm; petals 21-36 × 6-10(-12) mm; lip 21-33(-38) × 13-16 mm, central keel relatively thick, 2.4-2.6 mm wide, very slightly grooved, groove 0.3 mm deep and verrucose or braided with 5-7 discontinuous ridges; column 13-19 mm. Capsules (9-)27-41(-81) × (3.2-)4-8(-8.5) mm. 2n = 18. Flowering Apr--May (coastal plain) --Jul (mountains). Savannas, meadows, openings in oak or pine woodlands, mountain habitat often xeric, in acidic soil; 0--1000 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va. A station in Barbour County, West Virginia, is 240 km north of other stations and may be a result of introduction (K. B. Gregg 1989). Cleistes bifaria has been treated as a variety of the following species; it is readily separated by its relatively short column, which is correlated with the relatively small size of other floral parts, and differences in lip keel. It is, to a large extent, isolated from the following taxon by geographic distribution and flowering time where their distributions overlap (P. M. Catling and K. B. Gregg 1992).