Spiranthes lacera

(Raf.) Raf. var. gracilis (Bigelow) Luer
[Spiranthes gracilis]
Southern Slender Ladies Tresses
Slender Ladies Tresses
Location Rare and endangered in Ontario, occurring only at one known site south of Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1986. General distribution is the Great Lakes region and throughout all U.S.A. states east of the prairies and south, except peninsular Florida.

Specific Habitat

Found in rather open old fields, road shoulders, and dry, lightly shaded openings under Jack Pine, Red Pine or other conifers. Prefers finer, slightly acid or neutral substrates.

Flowering Season Mid August through September, much later than var. lacera.


Height to 60 cm., plant sparsely pubescent to essentially glabrous.
Leaves oval, forming a basal rosette that withers before flowering.
Inflorescence glabrous, usually well spiraled high on the frail stem.
Flowers small, white, with green centres. Lips may be more undulate and less lacerate, but flowers highly variable.


Plant is generally similar to var. lacera. Scape is usually tightly coiled and flowers closely spaced.. The green colour on the floor of the lip is broader, less clearly defined, and extending almost to the apex. S. lacera var. gracilis flowers later in any given district than var. lacera.


Orchids of Ontario
Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region
The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida

Habitat Plant Flower

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