Monday, September 7, 2009

Lesser Ladies' Tresses

This is part of the flower spike of an orchid called Lesser Ladies’ Tresses, Spiranthes ovalis. This is a September bloomer and is uncommon in Ohio.

This is the smallest of the Ladies’ Tresses at Blue Jay Barrens. The tightly wound flower spike sits atop a four to eight inch stem. Most plants are just now beginning to bloom.

The leaves of this plant sit very near the ground. Some animal, such as a deer, can nip off the flower stalk and the leaves will remain to continue producing energy for storage in the roots. Deer usually don’t bother these plants unless someone touches the flower with their hands. Sometimes a single touch changes things enough that a deer will bite off the top of the plant. I’ve seen this same thing happen to many species of plants. Touch it today and it’s gone tomorrow. Now I use a stick to move plants around for a better look, so I don’t turn them into a deer snack.

These flowers are really hard to see. They grow in moist soil in partially wooded areas where the shadows and surrounding vegetation tend to mask their presence.

This is a typical situation for Lesser Ladies’ Tresses. Open woods on the lowest part of a hillside provides perfect growing conditions. There are at least five plants growing in this small area.

No comments:

Post a Comment