Autumn Lady's Tresses - Spiranthes spiralis



Scientific Name: Spiranthes spiralis. (Spiranthes = flowers in a spiral; spiralis = spiralled). Syn S. autumnalis.

English Name: Autumn Lady's Tresses.

French Name: Spiranthe d'automne.


5 Key Characters:
  • Not easy to find as it is easily overlooked, but can form large colonies.
  • Flowers arranged in a tight spiral around the stem.
  • Delicately scented.
  • The rosette of leaves for next year comes up at the same time and beside the flower spike.
  • Flowers white.
Lookalikes: S.aestivalis. Autumn Lady's Tresses can be distinguished because of their scent, the way the flowers hug the stem and the offset rosettes of leaves.

Habitat: Impoverished short grassland, occasional patches on roadsides; full sun, prefers clay soil (neutral or slightly acid) that is damp or even saturated in winter and very dry in summer, more rarely on calcareous soil. Often on sand.

Flowering Period: August-September-October. The last species to flower in the area. Be sure to look at a flower under magnification, as they are lovely, but small and subtle. The flowers are very narrow and are pollinated by bees coming for nectar. The pollen is picked up coincidentally by the bees and transferred from flower to flower. It does not self-fertilize.

Status: Can be seen within 5km of Preuilly-sur-Claise. Protected. Rare but can be locally common. Where it is present it can often be in large numbers. They occur in the forest of Chinon, at Chançay, Bossay sur Claise, our orchard and Tournon Saint Pierre. Occurs on 18 sites in the Brenne, mainly in the northern half, but also in the very southern tip.

Further Reading and References:

Here is a link to the species page on the Société Française d'Orchidophilie de Poitou-Charentes et Vendée website.


Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.

In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.
In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.

In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.

In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.
In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.

In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.

In the lawn at the house of some friends, near Bossay-sur-Claise, September.


In the lawn at friends place, Bossay sur Claise, September.

xx

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