Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses)

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-58.

Slender Ladies Tresses

Spiranthes lacera

Southern Slender Ladies Tresses 

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis

spy-RAN-theez  LASS-er-a  GRASS-il-is

Synonyms of Spiranthes lacera (1) (Updated on 12-7-21 from Plants of the World Online): Neottia lacera Raf.
Synonyms of Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (6) (Updated on 12-7-21 from Plants of the World Online: Gyrostachys gracilis (Bigelow) Kuntze, Ibidium gracile (Bigelow) House, Neottia gracilis Bigelow, Neottia tortilis Pursh, Spiranthes gracilis (Bigelow) L.C.Beck, Triorchis gracilis (Bigelow) Nieuwl.

Spiranthes lacera (Raf.) Raf. is the accepted scientific name for the Slender Ladies Tresses. It was named and described as such by Constantine Rafinesque in Herbarium Rafinesquainum in 1833. He first named the species as Neottia lacera in American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review in 1818.

Accepted Infraspecific Names (2) (Updated on 12-7-21): Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Bigelow) Leur, Spiranthes lacera var. lacera (autonym). 

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Bigelow) Leur is the accepted scientific name for the Southern Slender Ladies Tresses. It was named and described as such by Carlyle August Leur in Native Orchids of the United States and Canada in 1975. It was first named Neottia gracilis by Jacob Bigelow in Florula Bostoniensis in 1824.

The autonym, Spiranthes lacera var. lacera, is the Northern Slender Ladies Tresses…

The genus, Spiranthes Rich., was named and described as such by Louis Claude Marie Richard in De Orchideis Europaeis Annotationes in 1817.

As of 12-6-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 39 species in the Spiranthes genus. It is a member of the plant family Orchidaceae with 729 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved on December 7, 2021.

The above distribution map for Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis is from Plants of the World Online. The map on the USDA Plants Database is somewhat different… 

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.

THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-59.

SOOOOO, I moved back to the family farm in 2013 but I didn’t start getting more into wildflower ID until maybe 2018. I had identified a few before that but not seriously. I had been seeing this neat species growing hit and miss just over the hill toward a fence. In 2018, I identified it as Spiranthes cernua using iNaturalist (with help from a few members). So, when I found another hit-and-miss colony in 2019, I assumed it was Spiranthes cernua. They were not exactly in the same location as the plants were in 2018. I uploaded photos and posted the observation on iNaturalist but several members disagreed they were Spiranthes cernua and gave reasons for their disagreement. Instead, they suggested this species was Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis. Well, once again, I visited several other websites for research and concluded they were right.

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-60.

In nature, weird things happen and it is always somewhat complicated to distinguish between the species and varieties (or subspecies). When I did the research for the Spiranthes cernua, I found out there was the Spiranthes cernua Complex that included several other species (and hybrids). However, Spiranthes lacera IS NOT part of that complex. That made it easier. BUT, with this one, you have the species, the variety, and the autonym…

Typically, when an infraspecific taxon is named, an autonym is automatically generated that is closest to the original species. In this case, when Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis was named, S. lacera var. lacera was automatically created. NOW, as a whole, S. lacera is the Slender Ladies Tresses. Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis is commonly known as Southern Slender Ladies Tresses. Spiranthes lacera var. lacera is known as the Northern Slender Ladies Tresses… GEEZ!

Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses) on 9-1-19, #620-61.

The main difference between the two is that the leaves on the stem are present during flowering with Spiranthes lacera var. lacera while they have fallen off by the time S. lacera var. gracilis start to flower. As you can see in the above photo, there are no leaves on the stem of this plant…

Besides identifying Spiranthes cernua (Nodding Ladies’ Tresses) in 2018 and S. lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses) in 2019, I also identified S. magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses) in 2021… Thanks to iNaturalist and a few of its members. All in different areas on the farm and all with subtle differences. Are we sure? Well, that is a secret. 🙂

I apologize for not writing better descriptions at the moment. I am updating plant pages, writing new pages, and adding photos I took over the summer. I will come back later to write descriptions. Writing descriptions of the plant, stems, leaves, flowers, etc. is a lengthy process. I could copy and paste from other websites but they may not like that and I prefer to use my own words… In layman’s terms. 🙂

I wrote a post on October 25 in 2021 titled Silly Spiranthes (Ladies Tresses) that you can read if you like…

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.

FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX
(GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)

TROPICOS (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
WIKIPEDIA (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE (SPECIES/VAR.)
DAVE’S GARDEN
MISSOURI PLANTS
iNATURALIST (SPECIES/VAR.)
WILDFLOWER SEARCH
MINNESOTA WILDFLOWERS
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
IOWA PLANTS
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
GO ORCHIDS
GO BOTANY
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂