Friday, December 10, 2010

Spiranthes lucida

The South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society annual holiday potluck is this Sunday, and the program at this event is members' slide shows. I've been going through my photos to put together a quick slide show on Indiana orchids, and I wanted to post a photo of one of my favorite orchids, Spiranthes lucida. This photograph was taken in June 2008 at Springfield Fen in LaPorte County, Indiana.

Spiranthes is from the Greek words "speira" and "anthos," which mean spiral and flower, respectively. A look at the inflorescence makes clear how the genus got its name. Lucida means "shining," a reference to the very shiny leaves of this species. The bright yellow spot on the lip in combination with the early (relative to other Spiranthes) flowering time make this species an easy ID, if you can find it. Spiranthes lucida is known from much of the northern 2/3 of eastern North America, but it is a species of concern in ten states. You can find Shining Lady's Tresses in wet, calcareous areas with little competition, often in areas with some disturbance (such as lake margins and streambanks).


Peter said...

I was fortunate to find 181 of these orchids in bloom on June 13, 2009 in Whitley County. My good fortune was, in no small part, aided by exact directions from one of the folks at the Indiana Dept. of Nature Preserves. and bloom monitoring by a local DNR employee.

Prem Subrahmanyam said...

Very pretty! Most of our Floridian Spiranthes have white lips, with the exception of S. praecox and S. sylvatica.


Scott Namestnik said...

Wow, Peter... that's an impressive colony! Was it on a lake shore in sandy or marly soil?

Thanks Prem. This is our only Spiranthes with the bright yellow spot. We also have Spiranthes lacera, which has a green spot on the lip.

Peter said...

It was along the shore of Crooked Lake, just a few feet from the water's edge.