Spiranthes lacera

Spiranthes lacera slender ladies’-tresses

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA

Spiranthes lacera stands out from other members of the genus due to the bright green inner lip of its otherwise white flowers and the spiraling shape which they bloom.  There are two distinct varieties – Northern (var. lacera), which usually blooms in early to mid-July and tends to have a “loose inflorescence” of flowers, and Southern (var. gracilis), which blooms later in mid-August to mid-September and blooms in a “tight inflorescence.” 

S. lacera can grow up to 30 inches tall, although shorter plants are usually the norm.  Var. lacera maintains its oval-shaped basal leaves through bloom time, while var. gracilis loses them before it flowers. Both varieties generally grow in dry habitats, including woodlands, open fields, and prairies.

This species is found in every state and province east of the Rocky Mountains and both varieties are found relatiely widely across Pennsylvania.


"Spiranthes lacera." North American Orchid Conservation Center. Copyright 2011-2022. 

Available at goorchids.

Contributed by: Greg Funka

Occasional in open woods and grassy meadows.

Found in most parts of the state except the northwest, & several central counties.

Wetland codes

Flowers August to October.

S-rank:  No rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)