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Spiranthes cernua

nodding lady's tresses add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Ground Orchids

Light Requirements: part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 1'-2'

Bloom Time: August, September, October

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: bog plant, colonizing, fall interest, fragrant flowers, naturalizing, pond margin plant, swamp plant

Flowers of Spiranthes cernua (nodding lady's tresses)
  • Flowers of Spiranthes cernua (nodding lady's tresses)
  • Flowers of Spiranthes cernua (nodding lady's tresses)
  • Flowers of Spiranthes cernua (nodding lady's tresses)
  • Flowers of Spiranthes cernua (nodding lady's tresses)

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Description

Spiranthes cernua

Also known as:

nodding lady's tresses

,

lady's tresses

Scientific Synonyms:

Ibidium cernuum

Description

Nodding lady's tresses is terrestrial orchid with long, narrow, grass-like basal leaves. The small, white, fragrant flowers bloom all along spirally twisted, erect spikes that grow to 2 feet tall.

Cultivation

This native orchid can be found in grassy swamps, fields, and damp meadows. Spiranthes cernua can be grown in clay, loam or sand that is slightly acidic and moist to wet. Partly sunny spots are best for nodding lady's tresses. Once established, it does not respond well to transplanting. Blooming period lasts about a month, and may vary from August to October depending on its geographic location. Zones 3-8

Propagation

This orchid is best left undisturbed. Under optimum conditions it will slowly form colonies. Mature specimens may be carefully separated from these colonies to begin new ones.

Additional Notes

Spiranthes cernua may have been unwittingly protected from collection in the wild because few people will recognize it as an orchid. Nodding lady's tresses are one of the few orchids with fragrant flowers.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Orchidales
Family Orchidaceae Orchid family
Genus Spiranthes lady's tresses
Species Spiranthes cernua nodding lady's tresses