Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua)
- Family: Orchid (Orchidaceae)
- Flowering: August-November.
- Field Marks: Species of Spiranthes usually have their flowers in twisted spikes. This species has flowers at least 1/3 inch long borne in spikes at least 3/4 inch thick.
- Habitat: Wet meadows; also in drier habitats.
- Habit: Perennial herb with tuberous roots.
- Stems: Erect, unbranched, hairy at least above, up to 1 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Mostly basal, simple, narrowly lanceolate, pointed at the tip, tapering to a sheathing base, up to 10 inches long, up to nearly 1 inch broad, more or less hairy.
- Flowers: Several in 3 spirally twisted rows, forming a cylindrical, densely flowered spike up to 6 inches long; each flower usually nodding.
- Sepals: 3, white, linear to narrowly lanceolate, hairy, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Petals: 3, white, linear to narrowly lanceolate, hairy, up to 1/2 inch long; the lip petal narrowly ovate.
- Stamens: 1.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: Capsules ellipsoid.
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