Etymology: Spiranthes: from the Greek speira, "spiral," and anthos, "flower," referring to the coiled or spiral character of the inflorescence, and hence the common nameladies tresses"
Plants: erect, perennial, 4"-36" tall forb; single stem with 3-8 scale-like leaves between the main leaves and the inflorescence
Leaves: basal, narrowly lance-like, 4"-24" long with pointed tips, clasping, persistent when blooming, hairy leaf axils
Flowers: white (rarely yellowish), 6-parted, slightly nodding only at the base, sepals not connected, side sepals either straight or only slightly spreading; 1/3" long lip usually with wavy edges; inflorescence a 3/4"-7" dense, spike-like, tight spiral (raceme) of several stalks with 3 to 4 stalked flowers per cycle; blooms July-Sept.
Habitat: sun; moist; bogs, prairies, fields, ditches; in slightly acidic, sandy soil
Conservation Status: Native
Flora of North America: Flora of North America Floristic Rating: Coefficient of Conservatism = 5, Wetland Indicator = FACW- Atlas of the Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora: by T.S. Cochrane & H.H. Iltis: habitat, distribution infomation / flowering and fruiting times USDA Plants Database: Federal Distribution and detailed information including photos USGS - Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center: Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin Dan Tenaglia's The Missouri Flora: Fabulous photographs; detailed descriptions; color and leave arrangement key. David G. Smith's "Delaware Wilflowers": Beautiful photographs; descriptions Illinois Wildflowers: Wonderful photographs; detailed descriptions; color and leaf arrangement key