Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ladies Tresses Orchids

I have always thought of Ladies Tresses (Spiranthus) as a rare plant, perhaps because they are orchids. My walks along the road this fall have proven me wrong. I first began to see them popping up along the road sides in late August. and they continue to appear in different places even now, mid-September. They grow right in the grass and weeds on the roadside and many have come up after a recent mowing by the county. When I first saw them this year, they were along one stretch of road, on one side of the road. I counted about 25 plants. The next time I walked several days later, most of those had passed, but there were a few scattered about in other places. Over several days they have opened along the other side of the road over the mile stretch that I walk. The last count was 50 uncounted plants, mostly on the other side of the road from the  ones I first saw. They are not rare, and they are quite tough as evidenced by their chosen habitat, a roadside. I also have several in my "lawn", which I have carefully mowed around.
The flower stalks pop up on naked stems. After they pass, the somewhat fleshy rosette of leaves appear.

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