Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses
spy-RAN-theez mag-nih-KAM-por-um ?
Spiranthes magnicamporum Sheviak is the accepted scientific name for the Great Plains Ladies’ Tresses. It was named and described as such by Charles John Sheviak in Botanical Museum Leaflets in 1973.
The genus, Spiranthes Rich., was named and described as such by Louis Claude Marie Richard in De Orchideis Europaeis Annotationes in 1817.
As of 12-7-21 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.
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.
While walking through the south hayfield on October 21 in 2021, I ran across several Ladies Tresses. Normally, I see these in the main hayfield but I decided to go ahead and take a couple of photos to submit as an observation on iNaturalist. Getting a closer look, they did seem a little different. Lets back up for a minute… The first Ladies Tresses I photographed from the main hayfield in 2018 turned out to be Spiranthes cernua (Nodding Ladies’ Tresses). In 2019, not far away from where I saw them in 2018, was another hit and miss colony. I took more photos and they were positively identified as Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies Tresses).
Well, the photos I took on October 21 looked like buds so I didn’t put them on iNaturalist…
So, I went back the next day and took several more photos but only one came out good because the wind was blowing. I uploaded the photo on iNaturalist and submitted it as Spiranthes cernua Complex… I will get to the reason for that in a minute…
Low and behold a member disagreed that is was a member of the Spiranthes cernua Complex and suggested it was Spiranthes magnicamporum (Great Plains Ladies Tresses) and gave reasons why.
Well, I got online and did a little research on a few of my favorite wildflower sites to read up on Spiranthes magnicamporum. After reading as much as I could, I decided the other member was correct.
SO, I went back again on the 23rd to take more photos. I was able to take better photos and uploaded five more photos… This time I remembered to take a whiff because some species have a stronger scent than others. By that time, however, I couldn’t smell anything… As funny as it may sound, the scent of some wildflowers is important as a way to distinguish them from different species in the genus.
While the member did dissagree the observation was a member of the Spiranthes cernua Complex, S. magnicamporum is part of that group and they were well aware of that. The member was just stepping it up a knotch. There are several species in the complex with subtle differences that may grow in certain geographical locations. Some do overlap… The species in the complex are sometimes complicated to tell apart.
For sure, the flowers of Spiranthes magnicamporum are bigger than the other two species. I went to the main hayfield and walked around a bit to see if I could find any of the others but they were nowhere to be found… Likely they were there somewhere, but you know how it goes when you are looking for something in particular in a fairly large area. I have gone back numerous times to find certain plants, sometimes I can find it the second time, but not the third…
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. 🙂
My thanks to iNaturalist and a few its members for helping me identify, not only three different species of Ladies Tresses on my farm, but many other species as well.
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 email@example.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)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
ARKANSAS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
A NATURALIST’S JOURNEY
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. 🙂