Spiranthes ochroleuca

(Rydberg) Rydberg
Yellow Nodding Ladies' Tresses
Location Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario.
Distribution in a narrow band eastwards from the Great Lakes through northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and the New England states.
Specific Habitat

Except for one location in southern Frontenac County, this orchid appears confined to the Carolinian Zone of southern Ontario. It occurs on acid sandy soils in dry, open habitat. It grows typically on higher ground, in more shade than S. cernua.

Flowering Season September to mid-October.


Height to 50 cm. Plant pubescent above, glabrous below.
Leaves 3 - 6, green, basal, and cauline, extending up the stem as leafy bracts.
Inflorescence of up to 60 pale yellowish flowers, in a single coil appearing in several ranks. Frequently the twist is so loose that a single spiralling rank can easily be seen. The tip of the spike is narrow and pointed as compared to the blunt cylindrical spike of S. cernua.
Flowers are white or creamy with pale yellow on the lip.


This orchid is thought to be native to Ontario, although there is no definite record of it prior to 1968. It seems to be restricted to the northeastern part of the range of S. cernua.


Orchids of Ontario
The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida

Habitat Plant Flower

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