Know Your Natives – Great Plains and Fragrant ladies’-tresses orchids

Arkansas has 9 species of ladies’-tresses orchid in the genus Spiranthes. They are found across the state in a wide variety of habitats, from disturbed areas, lawns and roadside ditches to high quality meadows, marshes, prairies and woodlands.

Two of the more uncommon species in Arkansas are the Great Plains (S. magnicamporum) and fragrant (S. odorata) ladies’-tresses.

Great Plains Ladies'-tresses Orchid - Spiranthes magnicamporum

Great Plains ladies’-tresses orchid – Spiranthes magnicamporum

Great Plains ladies’-tresses are known from a few counties in southwestern Arkansas. It is found in high quality prairie habitat and blooms in the fall, typically around the middle of October, after the leaves have withered and disappeared. It is highly fragrant.

Fragrant ladies'-tresses orchid - Spiranthes odorata

fragrant ladies’-tresses orchid – Spiranthes odorata

Fragrant ladies’-tresses can be found widely scattered across Arkansas, but is absent from the most northern counties. It grows in wetlands and bogs, often in standing water. The basal leaves are generally present on blooming plants. It blooms in October and is also highly fragrant.

Article and photographs by ANPS member Eric Hunt

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About Eric Hunt

Botanical Photographer living in Little Rock, Arkansas
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