Spiranthes cernua

(Linnaeus) L.C.M. Richard
Nodding Ladies' Tresses
Location Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario. Ranges from Nova Scotia west to South Dakota, south to Florida and Texas.

Specific Habitat

In most open, moist area with neutral or slightly acidic soils. It prefers moist, sandy marly soils, and avoids clay.
Prominent along lake shores, damp meadows, pastures, roadside ditches, open marly fens, recent excavations, and even lawns.

Flowering Season Late August and September, or until a heavy frost.


Height up to 25 cm.
Leaves 3 - 6 basal, linear –lanceolate, relatively soft.
Spike slender to stout, up to 60 flowers.
Flowers white with yellowish center, slightly nodding.
Sepals white, lip white, with greenish – yellow center.
Sweetly fragrant.


Latest orchid to flower. Found on Bruce Peninsula. One of the most abundant orchids in the Ottawa District.


The Canadian Field-Naturalist
The Orchids of Bruce & Grey

Habitat Plant Flower

© Royal Botanical Gardens, Dr. Donald Gunn Image Collection.