Spiranthes ochroleuca (Rydb.) Rydb. - Yellow Ladies' Tresses


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Spiranthes ochroleuca - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Orchidaceae


Dry open woodlands, meadows, fields, roadsides, typically where the vegetation is short or sparse.




Southern Canada, ME, VT, NH, NY, south through mountains to NC and western SC, west to eastern OH and MI and along the lake in northwestern IN, disjunct in southern IN.


Perennial to 40 cm. Leaves usually present during anthesis, withering shortly after; flowers yellowish; lateral sepals flattened, straight (rarely downwardly falcate) and often sweeping upward at the apex, the apex linear-lanceolate; labellum butterscotch yellow on the underside and centrally above, abaxial glands rounded.


Flowers mid-September to early October in NY

Wetland indicator: NA

Can be found with S. arcisepala but usually occupying the drier parts of the habitat where they co-occur. The range of the species also overlaps parts of that of S. incurva and S. casei, and S. magnicamporum.

Very closely related to S. casei. Can hybridize with S. cernua to form S. x kapnosperia. This hybrid is only known from a very limited range in the Smokey Mountains and is paler yellow on the underside of the labellum and has lateral sepals that are more acuminate at the apex.


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