Thursday, September 23, 2010

Theo Witsell says this is Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis. Ladies tresses are members of the genus Spiranthes and among many native U.S. orchids. My south-Fayetteville photo was made after sunset September 22, 2010

Plant in photo identified from my photo by Theo Witsell, botanist for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and editor of Claytonia, the publication of the Arkansas Native Plant Society. Its species is Sprinthes lacera variant
You aren't likely to find many native wild orchids hereabout because they are mostly small and grow surrounded by tall grass or other vegetation, but there are some Ladies tresses here and there in Northwest Arkansas. Thia link describes and provides photos of one species found mostly in high country near the east coast. However, you might find it in the Ozarks. You might find something similar if you walk a few hundred miles of wild country and keep your eyes where you are planning to step and are extremely patient. If you find one, please photograph, but don't encourage other people to go look at it, because it is unlikely to survive if someone tries to move it. It is growing where it is because conditions are perfect for it. And spiranthes aren't showy enough to grace a wedding bouquet or even a kitchen table. My photo was taken from less than 2 centimeters with an inexpensive camera set for close-up work. The light was poor and I have so far gotten a really picture of a spiranthes flower in several years of trying. There are some better photos of them online.
Texas has an endangered similar species seen at the following LINK.

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