Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Plains Ladies' Tresses orchid (Spiranthes magnicamporum)...and a Great Egret...

I found this cool-looking orchid growing at East Harbor State Park near Lakeside, Ohio back in September when I was at the Midwest Birding Symposium. The long spikes of bright white flowers stood out and were striking against the surrounding greenery...

...tall spikes of Great Plains Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes magnicamporum) grew along a path by a small pond near Lake Erie. Further down the path, several more plants were scattered through a soggy field along a boardwalk. The bright, bright white of the spiraling flowers popped wherever it stood.

Originally I thought this was Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua), but Andrew at The Natural Treasures of Ohio blog let me know it's Great Plains. Thanks, Andrew! Click here for a nice article to help you tell them apart. Apparently, Great Plains Ladies' Tresses are more fragrant than Nodding Ladies' Tresses. I don't remember them being fragrant, but we were looking for birds, and I had my long lens with me, so to photograph them, I couldn't get that close!

...adjacent to the tall, lanky and showy white orchid was a pond where an equally tall, lanky and showy white creature stood. The Great Egret, fishing in a sea of green, was the flower's perfect complement...

...spiraling upward in a double column, the flowers of the native Great Plains Ladies' Tresses form what looks like a braid and accounts for its common name.

Like all orchids, Great Plains Ladies' Tresses requires a specific species of fungus for normal growth and forms a symbiotic association between the root tissue and the fungus (click here for more information).

...love that frilly lacy ruffle!

...the egret continued to fish while I admired both him and the beautiful white flowers growing in a tight spiral.

I photographed this flower on September 17, 2011 while at the Midwest Birding Symposium.

19 comments:

Bob Bushell said...

Really nice, beautiful, Great Egret is my favourite.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Golly, the top of the plant reminds me of teeth but the flowers, Gorgeous!! Like they are trimmed with heirloom lace.

Lynette said...

Gorgeous photos. Wow. Thanks!

Kerri said...

Both the flowers and the Egret are Lovely!!

KaHolly said...

Awesome macro showing the fine points of the orchid. They are such a treasure to discover when out and about. I enjoyed reading the info about them. Beautiful egret shots.

A.L. Gibson said...

Great post, Kelly! I think those orchids are actually Great Plains Ladies-treeses (Spiranthes magnicamporum)! The yellow throat, shape of the bottom lip and "hood" really point to S. magnicamporum to me. I know of some friends who saw it while up at the MBS as well! Beautiful plant!

Kelly said...

....cool...thanks, Al!!! I assumed they were Nodding because they were supposed to be more common.

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful spikes. but i love the smokiness you captured in the Great Egret's feathers. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Love both the orchid (wow) and the egret.... Great group of photos.
Hugs,
Betsy

KAT said...

Wonderful !

Wanda..... said...

The Great Plains Ladies' Tresses is a lovely orchid, Kelly and new to me!

Montanagirl said...

The flower and Egret are equally beautiful! Very nice.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wonderful captures, I can almost imagine reaching out and touching these beautiful plants!

Juan Pablo Prieto said...

Very interesting Kelly,i found a new specie de Spirantes spiralis in Badajoz (Spain), you can see in my blog, thanks

Gaina said...

What a beautiful flower! The Egret is gorgeous too. We get lots of Little Egret here in England now - they were rare visitors a few years ago but especially in the south where I am they are not unusual now :).

Did the package get to you ok?

Abe Lincoln said...

Interesting post. Nice to read and photos are really nice.

Shelley said...

That orchid is so beautiful - so intricate in the way it is woven. And your egret photos were gorgeous!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! I loving finding and learning about new flowers. I've never seen one of these in Cincinnati. They must be around here somewhere, though. I need to study the distribution map and look around our wetlands!

Elaine said...

The shots of the Ladies Tresses are lovely!