Showing posts with label Fragrant Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes odorata). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fragrant Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes odorata). Show all posts

Monday, November 8, 2010

Now Playing In a Swamp Near You and Bewitched, Part III

Now to bring the topic back to orchids (since, after all, this is an orchid-related blog). Late fall in north and central Florida usually does not have much to offer orchid-wise...most terrestrials are wrapping up for the year, storing whatever they can in their underground portions prior to the first below-freezing night, which usually does the above-ground parts in. Starting in October in northern Florida, and wrapping up in December in southern Florida, two common woodland species come into their own during this sparse time--Spiranthes odorata and Ponthieva racemosa, known by their common names as Fragrant Ladies' Tresses and the Shadow Witch Orchid. You can see some earlier posts of Shadow Witch flowers and plants to this blog under the titles Bewitched, Part I and Bewitched, Part II. Both are members of the subfamily Spiranthoideae and tribe Cranichideae, but the former is classified in subtribe Spiranthinae and the latter in subtribe Cranichidinae. Both have evergreen basal rosettes of leaves and grow in rather swampy areas and both reproduce vegetatively via runners, as well as sexually via flowers and seeds. Because of their vegetative reproductive habit, both can tend to form extensive colonies over time, although I have observed S. odorata as being a bit more aggressive in colony forming than P. racemosa Both species are pleasantly fragrant, with P. racemosa smelling faintly of citrus while S. odorata smells most strongly of vanilla scented baby powder.

Three of my children and I visited a well-known site for these species...this same general area is home to Malaxis spicata, Platythelys querceticola, Listera australis, and Corallorhiza wisteriana as well. I would not be surprised if Epidendrum magnoliae were found growing in the trees overhead. Here are some photographs taken of these two species:

Spiranthes odorata - three blooming plants

Spiranthes odorata - single inflorescence

Spiranthes odorata - flower closeup

Ponthieva racemosa - flower spike

Ponthieva racemosa - top-down view

Ponthieva racemosa - top-down view

Ponthieva racemosa - Semi top-down view

Ponthieva racemosa - flower closeup
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