Spiranthes L. C. Rich.

The Ladies'-tresses orchids

Spiranthes cernua, Nodding Ladies'-tresses
The name Spiranthes is derived from the Greek for coiled ("spir") flowers ("anthes"), an allusion to the typically spiralled arrangement of the inflorescence. Taxonomic delimitation of the genus is very unclear, with the best estimate of size being approximately 300 species worldwide. Wisconsin, however, is home to only six species. These can be difficult to distinguish from each other, but with practice, they can be reliably determined from fresh material.
A. Labellum small (3.5-6 mm) AA. Labellum longer (6-12 mm)
One species that should be looked for in Wisconsin is Spiranthes lucida. It is found in Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa, not far from suitable habitat in Wisconsin. About 15 years ago, Don Henson collected S. lucida on the Michigan side of the Menominee River, placing lucida within meters of Wisconsin. This species should be diligently searched for in fens and along stream and river banks, particularly those flowing through areas of calcareous substrate.
Go to the list of the species of Spiranthes.

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