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Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid

Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid
Photo Information
Copyright: John Denk (jpdenk) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 3 N: 74] (333)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-31
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Nikon D70, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO
Exposure: f/16, 1/80 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-10-18 11:06
Viewed: 3719
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is another older photo. This is definitely a species of Spiranthes, and I believe it's the Nodding Ladies' Tresses orchid, Spiranthes cernua. They are found in a wide variety of habitats. In this case, they were found in abandoned farmland that has been fallow for well over 40 years and is now being turned into a prairie reconstruction. There is no record of anyone ever introducing seeds or plugs of this plant there, so it's presumed to be spontaneous.

They're found over most of eastern North America with the exception of Florida. They can apparently tolerate significantly less pristine conditions than many of our native orchids and often occur in old fields.

To take this photo, I placed my camera on a tripod that can get the camera very low and I used flash to fill in shadows.

Kingdom-Plantae Plants
Subkingdom-Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision-Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division-Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class-Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Family-Orchidaceae Orchid family
Genus-Spiranthes Rich. Ladies' Tresses
Species-Spiranthes cernua (L.) Rich. Nodding Ladies' Tresses

Info from the Illinois Wildflowers site:

Description: This native perennial plant is usually 4-12" tall and unbranched. There is a rosette of 2-6 strap-like basal leaves that are individually about 3-8" long and 1/3" across. They are linear to linear-oblanceolate with smooth margins, and usually wither away before the flowers bloom. On robust specimens, there may be 1 or 2 small leaves on the lower flowering stalk. The flowering stalk is up to 1' tall, with 6-12 flowers occurring on the upper half. These flowers are arranged on the stalk as intertwined double spirals as a result, the individual spirals are not readily discernible. The flowering stalk is light green and covered more or less with white glandular hairs. At the base of each flower, there is a conspicuous green bract that is curved and narrowly ovate. Each flower is about 1/3" long, consisting of 3 white sepals and 3 white petals. The upper sepal and upper two petals are fused together and form a curved hood that curls upward at its tip, forming a small upper lip with 3 lobes. The lower petal has a prominent lip that hangs downward and has a crystalline appearance, while the lateral sepals are linear and non-spreading. Together, these sepals and petals form a tubular-shaped flower that nods downward. The blooming period can occur from late summer until the fall, and lasts about a month. There is usually a mild floral scent. Some plants may form cleistogamous flowers. Fertilized flowers are replaced by pods containing the tiny seeds, which are easily carried aloft by the wind. These pods may be capable of photosynthesis while they are green. The root system consists of a cluster of fleshy roots at the base of the plant that are finger-like in shape, and occasional rhizomes may be produced. This orchid can reproduce from the seeds of the flowers, or it may form offsets from rhizomes. Normal growth and development won't occur unless the root system forms an endomycorrhizal association with the appropriate species of fungus.

Range & Habitat: Nodding Ladies' Tresses occurs occasionally throughout Illinois; for an orchid species, it is fairly common. Habitats include moist sand prairies, sandy savannas, areas adjacent to paths in sandy woodlands, shrubby bogs, sandy pannes near lakes, gravelly seeps, limestone glades, bluffs, sandy pits, ditches, and abandoned fields. This orchid typically occurs in somewhat disturbed areas of high quality habitats, and appears to respond positively to occasional wildfires. Individual plants are usually scattered about, rather than forming dense colonies.

Faunal Associations: Both long-tongued and short-tongued bees occasionally visit the flowers for nectar. The seeds are too small to be of any interest to birds. The foliage can be eaten by various mammalian herbivores, including rabbits, groundhogs, and deer, while the fleshy roots are probably eaten by pocket gophers when individual plants stray into drier areas.

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Critiques [Translate]

nice closeup, see my Chinese spiranthes pic some days ago, TFS Ori

Ciao John, lovely composition with nice orchid, wonderful natural colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-10-18 15:22]

Hello John,
A very attractive plant indeed with petals that look extremely delicate and have an almost velvetry appearance to them. I like the vertical presentation and super fine detail. White balance looks great and colors true and natural.
Great job!!

Hello John
Good to see another species of Spiranthes.
A superb photo, good depth of field giving excellent detail. Perfectly focused with good exposure.
regards yiannis

  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2012-10-19 2:30]

Excellent light and textures, good sharpness beautiful flower and picture. Congratulation.

Good morning John
Wonderful capture of this species.Beautiful vertical composition,wonderful soft colours and light and excellent sharpness.Thank You.
Have a good weekend!
Best regards

hello John
super good macro
great details and good light with beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

Nice little orchids, they've been found in the netherlands too now, probably escapes but doing good in the wild, where as our natureal s spirales is rare due to lack of unpolluted space

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