AUTUMN LADY'S-TRESSES

Spiranthes spiralis

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
(4) 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8almonds smell8vanilla smell8fragrant
almonds
rarity
rarityZuncommon
 

15 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
White flowers with two main lips, and green deep inside. Could be thought of as having four petals.


15 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
Flowers in a helical row held close to the stem.


15 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
Like two other Lady's-Tresses, has flowers that spiral up the stem.


15 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
Small scale-like leaves scattered up the stem. Flowers have two lips, which look like four petals. Stem and leaves woolly downy, giving the plant a greyish green appearance.


18 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
The four-jaw nature of the flowers is apparent here: a large curved and greenish lower tongue, two wings and an upper hood. the petals are covered in short white hairs. Note the pale green paper-thin scale-like leaves curled around the mid-part of the stem.


18 Sept 2010, Mid Sussex. Photo: © Rupert Browning
The basal leaves are broad and oval.


Not to be confused with : Lady's-Mantle, Lady's Bedstraw, Lady's Teardrops, nor Lady-Fern, [plants of similar names belonging to different families]. Nor to Lady's-Slipper Orchid or Lady Orchid [other members of the Orchid Family].

Can be confused with plants from the same Genus: Lady's-Tresses such as Summer Lady's-Tresses (Spiranthes aesitvalis), Irish Lady's-Tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) which also have the flowers arranged spirally up the stem and Creeping Lady's-Tresses (Goodyera repens), which doesn't.

Said to smell variously of 'almonds', 'vanilla' or to have a 'fragrant' aroma, take your pick.

Habitat: Likes grassland. Occupies mainly southern UK.

The basal leaves, which are broad and bluish-green, wither before the flowering stem emerges. The four petals differ from the usual arrangement of three 'petals' and upper and lower lips so prevalent amongst orchids.


  Spiranthes spiralis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Spiranthes
Spiranthes
(Lady's-Tresses)

AUTUMN LADY'S-TRESSES

Spiranthes spiralis

Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

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