Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Spiranthes diluvialis, the Ute Ladies'-tresses, was the last of the native orchids we saw this season and we saw it for the first time ever in the Columbia River basin. It is a natural hybrid of Spiranthes romanzoffiana, the Hooded Ladies'-tresses, and Spiranthes magnicamporum, the Great Plans Ladies'-tresses, a species that does not grow in the Pacific Northwest. It is very rare and listed as Federally threatened, due especially to habitat destruction. We had looked for it previous years but with better information we found it this season and found it growing in the kind of location it prefers, along a river and in an area that is often inundated well into the summer months. It is a beautiful species with white to near-white flowers, plants that are 30 cm tall, and flowers that are tubular and 1.5 cm long. The flowers like most of the Spiranthes are "braided" around the stem, adding to the beauty of the species.