Index- plants in this Family
Orchidaceae / Orchid
Great Plains Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes magnicamporum)
Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 38cm in height (15inches).
Leaves: The leaves have withered by the time of flowering. There are two to three leaves (up to five), mostly basal, oblanceolate or lanceolate to 20cm (8") long and 1cm (0.4") wide.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to 1.2cm long (0.47 inches). They are white with yellowish lower lip. Blooms first appear in late summer and continue into early fall. The flowers are in three or four ranks which are together in tight spirials with a total of up to fourty in a single raceme. The sepals to 11cm (0.4"), are often spreading and often curve up and over the flower. May have a strong sweet odor (almond?).
Fruit: The seeds are monoembryonic.
Habitat: Glades and calcareous prairies.
Range: All of the Great Plains and in scattered locations eastward to Pennsylvania in the north and south to one county in north west Georgia.

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This species is only found in the northern parts of our area.

Similar Species: Nodding Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes cernua is very similar. It generally blooms earlyer and still has leaves at the time of flowering. It is found in moist locations as opposed to the dry areas where S. magnicamporum is usually found.

See the links below this image for other images. (1)
© Daniel Reed   E-mail      Image use policy

I cannot at this time be absolutely certain that this is Spiranthes magnicamporum and not the similar Spiranthes cernua. It does have all the visible characters of S. magnicamporum. October 6, 2001 in a grassy glade at Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Tennessee.

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Ladies'-tresses, Great Plains (Spiranthes magnicamporum) - close view of flowers  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf



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