Nodding Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes cernua)

Common names:
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By Ursula
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Location: Tennesseecourtesy Sunlight Gardens, www.sunlightgardens.com
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Photo Courtesy of Shikoku Garden Inc.
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Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 17, 2015 11:12 PM

The book "How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs William Starr Dana says this orchid is found in great abundance in September and October. While the author notes that "botany relegates it to wet places," she has spotted it in dry upland pastures and low-lying swamps. She uses the common name of "Ladies' Tresses" but says the plant's former English name was actually "Ladies' Traces" due to a resemblance "between its twisted clusters and the lacings which played so important a part in the feminine toilet." She also says that in parts of New England, people call it "Wild Hyacinth."

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 9:30 AM

Spiranthes cernua , or Nodding Ladies Tresses, grows in wet places along the southeastern coastal plain and down into Texas. It is one the few native orchids that is easy to grow in cultivation. Each plant forms a clump of shiny, dark green, 8 inch pointed leaves from which a 1.5 to 2 foot tall, cylindrical spike of flowers persists from late summer into fall. The flowers are densely arranged and are yellowish white, tinged green, and slightly scented like vanilla. This orchid seems to defy all "rules" about native orchids. It likes wet to moist, good soil and grows in sun or shade. It not only self-sows prolifically, but it is also stoloniferous and will therefore spread quickly. It is easy and seems not to need any inoculants or special fungi.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Sep 4, 2013 10:53 AM

A slender orchid with grasslike leaves up to 10 inches tall. Habitat is dry or moist woods, old fields, and prairies. Creamy-white flowers are slightly nodding and of half an inch in length with a light vanilla scent.
Mid-western wildflower occasionally found in Illinois. Blooms August - October.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What else do we grow in 2019! Thread 2 by drdawg Aug 20, 2019 5:54 AM 879
Native Orchids by Gina1960 Mar 8, 2019 10:07 AM 29
Our Orchid blooms in September 2018 by Ursula Oct 1, 2018 7:11 AM 262
What flower is this? by ajean923 Feb 14, 2018 1:03 PM 15
What else do we grow in 2018 by hawkarica Jan 1, 2019 8:49 AM 1,225
Our Orchid blooms in October 2017 by Ursula Nov 1, 2017 7:07 AM 448
Our Orchid blooms in July 2017 by Ursula Aug 1, 2017 6:55 AM 454
Orchid shows and Orchid shopping 2017 and some 2018 by dyzzypyxxy Apr 8, 2018 8:08 PM 1,002
Let's see what else we are growing in 2017 by Ursula Jan 10, 2018 6:14 PM 1,057
Have a long list of wants and some things to trade for them. by daylilly99 Oct 15, 2016 4:02 PM 2

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