Friday, April 15, 2011

Hooded Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana)

This wide ranging species is found across Alaska and Canada, in the northern and western United States and even in Great Britain and Ireland.  It is the most commonly-met Spiranthes in the Pacific Northwest.  It is somewhat variable in coloration but is unlike any other species in this genus.

The plants are said to grow as tall as 50 cm, but where we have found them, at higher elevations, they have always been very short, less than 20 cm.  The plants usually has quite a few leaves which are found on the lower part of the stem and which persist through flowering.

The flowers are a beautiful off-white color and have a sparkling texture, and are arranged in spiralling rows, like all the Spiranthes, around the flower stem.  The plant likes wet, open areas.  At Mount Adams, for example, we found it growing in a very wet meadow among short grasses.


  1. Just lovely! We have Spiranthes vernalis coming into bloom in central FL. It will finish blooming at the beginning of June in north Florida.

  2. The Spiranthes out here (three species, but two of them known from only one location in Washington) don't bloom till mid to late summer.

  3. Gorgeous photos of this specimen. I need help with i.d. on an orchid seen in San Juan County this week. I have a photo.

    1. I'd be glad to help ID your orchid. You can send the photo to ronaldhhanko @ (without the spaces). T?hanks for your kind comments.