Spiranthes ovalis Lindl.
Family: Orchidaceae
October Ladies'-Tresses,  more...
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Plants 5-40 cm. Roots few, slender, spreading to descending, mostly to 0.5 cm diam. Leaves persisting through anthesis, few-several, basal, usually on proximal 1/2 stem, recurved-spreading, oblanceolate, 3-15 × 0.5-1.5 cm. Spikes tightly spiraled, usually 3 flowers per cycle of spiral, rarely loosely spiraled in depauperate plants; rachis pubescent, some trichomes clavate to capitate, glands obviously stalked. Flowers pure white; sepals distinct to base, slightly spreading, 3.5-6.1 × 1-1.5 mm; petals lanceolate, 6 × 1 mm; lip ovate, 5 × 3 mm, apex with finely crisped margin; veins few, branches parallel; basal calli spreading, slender, mostly to 0.75 mm; ovary mostly 3-8 mm. Seeds monoembryonic.
Perennial herb 5 - 40 cm tall

Similar species: Only Spiranthes ovalis var. erostellata occurs in our area, please refer to that page.

Occurence in the Chicago region: native

Author: The Field Museum

Plants 1.5-3 dm; basal lvs 2 or 3, to 12 cm, 5-10(-15) mm wide; cauline sheaths 3-4, the lower with divergent recurved blade 2-5 cm; infl 2-6 cm, with glandular-puberulent axis, dense, the fls in 3 or 4 vertical ranks, individually widely spreading or somewhat deflexed, urceolate- cylindric, white or the lip creamy at the middle; sep and lateral pet 3.5-5 mm, the pet usually widest in the distal third and with one vein; lip 4-5 mm, ovate-oblong, rounded distally, often somewhat constricted near the middle, its basal callosities short, slender, less than 1 mm. Moist woods and bottomlands, and also in old fields and pastures; s. Pa. to sw. Mich. and Ill., s. to Fla. and Tex. Sept., Oct. Our plants, mainly autogamous and lacking a viscidium and rostellum (unique among our spp. in these regards) have been described as var. erostellata Catling, in contrast to var. ovalis, of Ark., La., and Tex., with slightly larger fls of normal structure.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Bruce Sorrie  
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Thomas McFadden  
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