LADY'S TRESSES
File Size: 81 KB
 
Spiranthes cernua   (L. ) Rich.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 3-24 inches
Family: Orchidaceae - Orchid Family
Flowering Period:   August, September,October
Also Called: Nodding ladies'-tresses.
Stems: Erect, usually solitary, unbranched, green, glabrous below, short-hairy above.
Leaves: Mostly basal, simple, sessile, linear to lanceolate, 2 to 12 inches long, less than 1 inch wide, pale green; margins entire; tips pointed; upper leaves reduced to 2-6 alternate, sheathing bracts with tapering-pointed tips.
Inflorescences: Spikes, 2 to 5 inches long, with up to 60 flowers in 2-3 tightly twisting spirals; floral bracts ovate, to 1 inch long, green; tips tapered to sharp points.
Flowers: Less than 1/2 inch long, blooming from bottom to top; sepals 3, petal-like, white; petals 3, white; lower petal lip-like, somewhat constricted near middle; center yellowish green; tip rounded, crisped; stamen 1, united with pistil.
Fruits: Capsules, erect, egg-shaped, about 1/4 inch long; seeds numerous, tiny, brown.
Habitat: Wet meadows, dry or wet, upland prairies, thickets, and rocky limestone glades.
Distribution: East 2/3 of Kansas.
Comments: The inflorescence has the appearance of braided hair, which is the source of its common name. The flowers are fragrant, with a lilac or vanilla-like odor.
 See also Spring lady's tresses and Slender lady's tresses

Lady's tresses
123 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Lady's tresses inflorescence
80 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Lady's tresses
68 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas