Spiranthes vernalis Engelm. & Gray

spring ladies'-tresses

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Spring ladies'-tresses has a southern and southeastern distribution, and reaches New England at the northern limit of its range. It can be found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. As the name suggests, this species flowers in early spring in the southern parts of its range, but in New England it may not flower until as late as October.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), grassland, meadows and fields, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Form of lower petal
the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
Lower petal outline
the labellum is simple in form
Main color of lower petal
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur
there are no nectar spurs on the flower
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
Lower petal characteristics
the labellum is simple in form
Lower petal length
5–8 mm
Sepal length
6–10 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Flower petal color
    • white
    • yellow
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowering date
    • August
    • July
    • October
    • September
    Flowers per inflorescence
    12–50
    Form of lower petal
    the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
    Hairs on flower stalk
    NA
    Hairs on inflorescence axis
    • at least some of the hairs on the main stem of the inflorescence have glands
    • the main stem of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Inflorescence length
    30–200 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Labellum position
    the labellum is in the lower position on the flower
    Length of flower stalk
    0 mm
    Lobes at base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lower petal characteristics
    the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal length
    5–8 mm
    Lower petal outline
    the labellum is simple in form
    Lower petal strongly red-veined
    no
    Main color of lower petal
    • white
    • yellow
    Nectar spur
    there are no nectar spurs on the flower
    Nectar spur length
    0 mm
    Number of stamens
    1
    Orientation of side petals
    • the lateral petals are angled steeply upwards
    • the lateral petals slant somewhat downward
    Self-pollinating flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on this plant
    Sepal length
    6–10 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Shape of viscidium
    • the viscidium is lance-shaped (wider near one end, pointed at the ends)
    • the viscidium is long and narrow
    Spots on lower petal
    no
    Spur opening membrane
    NA
    Spur opening shape
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed capsule orientation
    the capsule points upwards or is angled outwards
  • Growth form
    Plant green or not
    the plant is chlorophyllous (it has green parts)
    Roots
    the rhizomes do not resemble coral
    Underground organs
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bract relative length
    the bract is shorter than the associated flower
    Features of leaves
    the leaf does not have any of the mentioned special features
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade edges
    the edges of the leaf blade have no teeth
    Leaf blade length
    50–250 mm
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    1.3–2.1
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    40–120 mm
    Leaves during flowering
    there are leaves on the plant when it is flowering
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • grasslands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • woodlands

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), concern (code: C)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Spiranthes lacera
Spiranthes tuberosa

Synonyms

  • Ibidium vernale (Engelm. & Gray) House

Family

Orchidaceae

Genus

Spiranthes

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

8.  Spiranthes vernalis Engelm. & Gray N

spring ladies’-tresses. Ibidium vernale (Engelm. & Gray) House • CT, MA, NH, RI. Fields, roadsides, open woodlands, lawns.