Thursday, April 4, 2013

Late Autumn's Last Hurrah - Spiranthes longilabris

Late in autumn (late October for north Florida and late November for central/south), one of our prettier white ladies' tresses species, Spiranthes longilabris, comes into bloom in open, wet areas.  Not very often seen, I often went hunting for this in my early adulthood in Tallahassee, to no avail.  Granted, I used Carl Luer's book as a guide, where he stated that they would go on Thanksgiving weekend to see them in the Sarasota area.  Two years ago, I was clued into a particular population, but I was a hair's breadth too late (we did find plants in seed...perhaps a week or two out of bloom).  

Most recently, a colleague pointed me to an unknown Spiranthes that he had photographed in a wild area in Palm Beach County.  Its long, lacy lip and widespread sepals were an unmistakeable dead-ringer for this species, not recorded in Palm Beach County before.  On my way down to an orchid talk in Homestead, I was able to visit the same area and to find them in full flower!  Notch another orchid species in my belt!

Here are a few photographs that we took this day:

Spiranthes longilabris - full spike.
Spiranthes longilabris - flower close-up.
And here is the profile page on the Florida Native Orchids website: 

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