Great Plains ladies’ tresses

(Spiranthes magnicamporum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Great Plains ladies’ tresses

NatureServe

N3N4 - Vulnerable to Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry to wet. Prairies, woods, fens, pastures.

 
Flowering

September to October

     
Flower Color

White to ivory

     
Height

4¾ to 15

     

Identification

This is a 4¾ to 15 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on s single stalk from a tight cluster of fleshy roots.

There are 2 or 3 basal leaves which are usually withered by the time the plant is in bloom. They are ascending, inversely lance-shaped to linear lance-shaped, 4 to 5½ long, and 5 16 to wide. The margins are untoothed.

The stems are erect, unbranched, and leafless except for a few scale-like, sheathing, typically overlapping bracts below the inflorescence.

The inflorescence is a pair of intertwined, tightly spiraling, ¾ to 2 long flower spikes at the top of the stem with 20 to 40 individual flowers. The flowers on each spike are arranged in spirals of 3 or 4 flowers per cycle of spiral. The spirals are not evident due to the intertwining of the two spikes. The spikes are light green and moderately hairy.

Each flower is subtended by a scale-like, egg-shaped to lance-shaped bract.

The flowers are about ½ long and abruptly nodding at the base. There are 3 white to ivory petals and 3 similar petal-like sepals. The upper 2 petals converge with but do not fuse with the upper sepal to form a hood over the united filaments and style (column). The tips of the upper petals and sepal curve upward slightly. The lower petal forms an egg-shaped lip that arches strongly downward. The central portion of the lip is yellowish and is not constricted near the middle. The lip is crisped at the tip. The lateral 2 sepals are linear- lance-shaped, slightly spreading, then recurving, often ascending above the flower, like a pair of cow’s horns. The margins of the lateral sepals are rolled inward. The flowers are almond-scented.

 
Similar
Species

Nodding ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes cernua) stem leaves are often present at flowering. The lateral 2 sepals are straight or slightly spreading, not recurving, not shaped like a pair of cow’s horns. The central portion of the lower lip is constricted toward the middle. The flowers not scented.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 25, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Orchidaceae (orchid)

 

Subfamily:

Orchidoideae

 

Tribe:

Cranichideae

 

Subtribe:

Spiranthinae

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Great Plains ladies’ tresses

Great Plains ladies’-tresses

Great Plains ladiestresses

Great Plains lady’s tresses


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Column

The united filaments and style of an orchid. The structure formed by the united filaments of plants in the Mallow family.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Sheath

The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.

       

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Plant

  Great Plains ladies’ tresses   Great Plains ladies’ tresses
       
  Great Plains ladies’ tresses   Great Plains ladies’ tresses
       

Inflorescence

  Great Plains ladies’ tresses   Great Plains ladies’ tresses
       
  Great Plains ladies’ tresses   Great Plains ladies’ tresses
       

Flowers

  Great Plains ladies’ tresses    
       
       

 

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Slideshows

   
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  Spiranthes magnicamporum GREAT PLAINS LADIES' TRESSES  
     
  Spiranthes magnicamporum
Joshua Mayer
 
  Spiranthes magnicamporum  
 
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Great Plains Lady's Tresses

 
     

 

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