Spiranthes ovalis

Lindley var. erostellata Catling
Oval Ladies' Tresses
Location Ontario.
This orchid was discovered on Walpole Island in Lambton County (Brown, Allen, Lamb, 1985). It was found with native prairie species in an area where other essentially southern species occur.
Specific Habitat

Occurring in an open, previously burnt-over clearing in clay soil, with wild strawberry, heath aster and closed gentians.
Spiranthes ovalis traditionally grows only in rich shaded humus of damp forests in the mid-eastern to southeastern united States.

Flowering Season Late August to early October. Peak bloom in mid-September.

Description

Height to 40 cm. Plant pubescent with knobbed hirs.
Leaves 2 3, green, oblanceolate, relatively soft, basal and sheathing the lower part of the stem, becoming bracts above.
Inflorescence slender, green, up to 50 white, tubular flowers tightly spiraled in more than one rank.
The minute inflorescence tapers into buds towards the apex and into the older flowers below, creating an "oval" appearance.
Flowers white or whitish with a creamy lip.

Comments

The most recent addition to the orchids of Ontario and even more easily overlooked than S. ochraleuca.
The absence of rostellum and viscidium is very distinctive.

References

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.