Little Ladies Tresses - Spiranthes tuberosa

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by prem, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. prem

    prem TPF Noob!

    May 1, 2009
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    This little dainty is seldom seen, although it is a wide-ranging orchid. This is due, probably, to the fact that it bears tiny flowers (only 3-4mm tall) on a narrow spike and grows in semi-dry grassy areas where it blends in quite well with the grass flower stalks. It also tends to bloom later than most of the spring orchids (such as Spiranthes vernalis, S. praecox, Calopogon tuberosus, Calo. pallidus, Pogonia ophioglossoides, Cleistes bifaria, Cleistes divaricata, etc.) and in a less moist environment, so the typical spring orchid hunter won't be looking in the right place at the right time for it. It can be easily distinguished from Spiranthes vernalis by the flower size (roughly half that of S. vernalis), the later blooming time, and the fact that the stalk is leafless by the time it flowers, the rosette of wide, tear-drop shaped, highly frost-resistant leaves long withered by anthesis. Instead of a typical bundle of fleshy roots as seen with many other Spiranthes species, this species bears a single tuber-like root, hence the specific epithet.

    I happened to discover this plant growing in my parents' yard on a brief visit to the Tallahassee, Florida area.


    1/100s, f9, ISO 100, Sigma 105mm lens, Canon Digital Rebel XTi, natural, semi-diffuse afternoon light.

    Florida's Native and Naturalized Orchids
  2. Flower Child

    Flower Child TPF Noob!

    Oct 19, 2008
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    Southeastern Kansas
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    Nice flower, how lucky you were to find it! The colors are really beautiful, and might benefit with a slight increase in saturation (but completely up to you). The sunlight hitting it brings out the details beautifully and it has a nice simplicity about it. If I would have done it though, I might have tilted it a little more so the plant is going more diagonal in the photo. Might bring a little more interest.

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