Spiranthes casei Catling & Cruise - Case's Ladies' Tresses


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Spiranthes casei - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Orchidaceae


Sandy, acid soil.


Often with Polytrichum sp.


Nova Scotia; ME to northern PA, west to MI and WI. More northern than S. ochroleuca though the ranges overlap.


Perennial to 40 cm. Leaves remaining until anthesis and withering shortly after; flowers 5 mm or longer, loosely arranged in the inflorescence, evidently in a single spiral; lateral sepals cupped; labellum centrally smooth and yellowish; dorsal sepal and petals barely recurved.


Flowers late August to early September

Wetland indicator: NA

This species is part of the Spiranthes cernua complex. Phylogenetics suggests that this species is an ecologically specific subspecies of  S. ochroleuca. It can be distinguished by its smaller flowers and non-recurved dorsal sepal and petals and the tendency of the flowers to form a single spiral.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Pace, M.C. and Cameron, K.M. The systematics of the Spiranthes cernua species complex (Orchidaceae): Untangling the Gordian Knot. Systematic Botany, 42(4):1-30.




 Michael Hough 2017