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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Spiranthes cernua (L.) Richard)

Nodding ladies' tresses orchid

ORCHID FAMILY (Orchidaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial herb seldom over 20 cm. high. Stem leaves are usually persistent at flowering time. Several white flowers, with lips 7-12 mm. long, form a 3-ranked, spirally twisted spike. Callosites at the base of the lip are conspicuous, projecting, and rounded. Flowers are sometimes fragrant. In flower from August to October.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Nodding ladies' tresses is a frequent orchid of inland fresh meadows, particularly calcareous fens and wet to wet-mesic prairies that have been slightly disturbed.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

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