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Slender Ladies Tresses Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
spy-RAN-theez LASS-er-a
Description

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis, or Southern Slender Ladies Tresses, is a herbaceous, perennial, wildflower in the orchid family. The plant is native to Eastern North America, but has a widespread range and is found in a variety of open habitats, both natural and disturbed. It produces a spiral of white flowers in the summer and into the fall. S. lacera var. gracillis is one of two lacera varieties. S. lacera var. gracillis, or Southern Slender Ladies Tresses, had dense flowers arranged in a spiral and blooming later in the season. This plant is hairless and leaves are absent at flowering. The other variation, S. lacera var. lacera, or Northern Slender Ladies Tresses has a looser spiral arrangement of flowers, blooms earlier, is hairy, and the leaves are present at flowering.

Southern Slender Ladies' Tresses produces 2-4 basal leaves which usually wither before or at the time of flowering in the summer or fall. It bears an inflorescence of up to 40 small white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. It can be distinguished from other species of Spiranthes by the distinctive green spot on its labellum and the edges are somewhat crenulate and rolled inward. It can be found in moist to dry meadows, fields, prairies, open woods, and disturbed areas such as along roadsides and in lawns. This orchid is pollinated by a variety of long tongued bees.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:

There are no known problems with this plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#perennials#herbaceous#orchid#wildflower garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#perennials#herbaceous#orchid#wildflower garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Spiranthes
    Species:
    lacera
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Ontario to Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    bees suck nectar, while butterflies & skippers suck nectar and are non-pollinating
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small white flowers on a tight, single spiral that blossom from July to October. Flower lip has a green stripe.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Three to five basal leaves often wither and are absent at flowering.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees