Spiranthes ovalis - Lindl.
Lesser Ladies'-tresses
Other English Common Names: October Ladies'-tresses, Oval Ladies'-tresses
Other Common Names: October ladies'-tresses
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Spiranthes ovalis Lindl. (TSN 43451)
French Common Names: spiranthe ovale
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136809
Element Code: PMORC2B0P0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Orchid Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Orchidales Orchidaceae Spiranthes
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Spiranthes ovalis
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Sep2000
Global Status Last Changed: 14Sep2000
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread, although scattered, in the eastern United States; rarer northward, to Ontario. Rank tentative pending better information concerning abundance and numbers of occurrences (EOs). The 83-07-23 EGR form supported a global rank of G4G5; on 88-08-06 it was tentatively ranked G5.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5?
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1 (12Jan2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), District of Columbia (SH), Florida (S3), Georgia (S2S3), Illinois (S3S4), Indiana (S3), Iowa (S2), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S4S5), Louisiana (SNR), Maryland (SNR), Michigan (S1), Mississippi (S2S3), Missouri (SNR), North Carolina (S2S3), Ohio (S4), Oklahoma (SNR), Pennsylvania (S1), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S3), Texas (SNR), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (SNR)
Canada Ontario (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Virgina and West Virgina (Randolf County) to Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, northeastern Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Number of Occurrences: 21 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: No particular information; widespread - perhaps a D.

Population Size Comments: Uncommon and local (Luer 1975). In Missouri, var. erostellata is uncommon and widely scattered (Yatskievych 1999); in Indiana, few plants at a site (var. erostellata) (Homoya 1993).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Virgina and West Virgina (Randolf County) to Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, northeastern Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Clark (05019)*, Cross (05037), Howard (05061)*, Nevada (05099)*, St. Francis (05123)
GA Baker (13007)*, Chattahoochee (13053), Dougherty (13095), Floyd (13115), Gordon (13129), Greene (13133), Houston (13153), Paulding (13223), Stephens (13257), Towns (13281)*, Union (13291), Walker (13295), Whitfield (13313)
IA Benton (19011), Boone (19015), Dallas (19049), Davis (19051), Decatur (19053), Des Moines (19057), Hamilton (19079), Henry (19087), Jackson (19097), Jasper (19099), Johnson (19103), Lee (19111), Linn (19113), Louisa (19115), Mahaska (19123), Marion (19125), Monroe (19135), Muscatine (19139), Polk (19153), Story (19169), Tama (19171), Van Buren (19177), Webster (19187)
IN Lake (18089), Porter (18127), Pulaski (18131)
KS Douglas (20045), Labette (20099), Linn (20107)*, Miami (20121)*
MI Allegan (26005), Kalamazoo (26077), Monroe (26115), Washtenaw (26161), Wayne (26163)
MO Boone (29019)*, Buchanan (29021), Butler (29023), Camden (29029), Clay (29047), Crawford (29055)*, Dent (29065)*, Dunklin (29069)*, Franklin (29071), Iron (29093), Jackson (29095), Jefferson (29099), Lincoln (29113), Livingston (29117), Macon (29121), Madison (29123)*, Marion (29127), Mississippi (29133)*, Montgomery (29139)*, New Madrid (29143)*, Oregon (29149), Phelps (29161), Pike (29163), Platte (29165), Randolph (29175), Reynolds (29179)*, St. Charles (29183)*, St. Francois (29187)*, St. Louis (29189), St. Louis (city) (29510)*, Texas (29215), Washington (29221), Wayne (29223)*
MS Adams (28001), Amite (28005), Attala (28007), Chickasaw (28017), George (28039)*, Grenada (28043), Hinds (28049), Itawamba (28057), Jackson (28059), Jefferson (28063)*, Oktibbeha (28105), Pontotoc (28115), Sharkey (28125)*, Tishomingo (28141)*, Warren (28149), Washington (28151), Wilkinson (28157)
OH Adams (39001), Athens (39009), Butler (39017), Champaign (39021), Cuyahoga (39035), Greene (39057), Hamilton (39061), Highland (39071), Hocking (39073), Jefferson (39081), Lawrence (39087), Lucas (39095), Montgomery (39113), Pike (39131), Ross (39141), Scioto (39145), Union (39159)
PA Blair (42013), Franklin (42055)*, Greene (42059), Huntingdon (42061)
WI Crawford (55023), Dane (55025), Grant (55043), Green (55045), Iowa (55049), Lafayette (55065), Waukesha (55133)
WV Greenbrier (54025)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper Juniata (02050302)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+*
03 Tugaloo (03060102)+, Upper Oconee (03070101)+, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F. George Reservoir (03130003)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+*, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+, Conasauga (03150101)+, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Etowah (03150104)+, Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Town (03160102)+, Tibbee (03160104)+, Noxubee (03160108)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Upper Pearl (03180001)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, Black-Macatawa (04050002)+, Kalamazoo (04050003)+, Detroit (04090004)+, Huron (04090005)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+, Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+
05 Lower Monongahela (05020005)+, Upper Ohio (05030101)+, Hocking (05030204)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Little Miami (05090202)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+
06 Hiwassee (06020002)+, Bear (06030006)+*
07 Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Kickapoo (07070006)+, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+, Flint-Henderson (07080104)+, South Skunk (07080105)+, North Skunk (07080106)+, Skunk (07080107)+, Middle Cedar (07080205)+, Lower Cedar (07080206)+, Middle Iowa (07080208)+, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Pecatonica (07090003)+, Middle Des Moines (07100004)+, Boone (07100005)+, Lake Red Rock (07100008)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)+, The Sny (07110004)+, Salt (07110007)+, Cuivre (07110008)+, Peruque-Piasa (07110009)+*, Chicago (07120003)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+, Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+, Meramec (07140102)+, Big (07140104)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+*, New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+*, Upper St. Francis (08020202)+, Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Little River Ditches (08020204)+*, Yalobusha (08030205)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+, Little Missouri (08040103)+*, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+, Lower Big Black (08060202)+, Coles Creek (08060204)+*, Buffalo (08060206)+, Amite (08070202)+
10 Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Platte (10240012)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Upper Grand (10280101)+, Thompson (10280102)+, Little Chariton (10280203)+, Upper Marais Des Cygnes (10290101)+*, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+*, Niangua (10290110)+, Big Piney (10290202)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+, Lower Missouri-Moreau (10300102)+*, Lower Missouri (10300200)+
11 Upper Black (11010007)+, Eleven Point (11010011)+, Middle Neosho (11070205)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A small herb with a slender stem bearing two or three leaves and a terminal, tightly spiraled spike of small white flowers.
Technical Description: Stem 1.5-4 dm tall, slender from few, tuberous, thickened, elongate, descending roots. Basal leaves oblanceolate, to 15 cm long, 1.5 cm wide, tapering to a long petiolar base. Cauline leaves similar, smaller, the upper scale-like. Floral bracts ovate, to 8 mm long, 4 mm wide. Raceme dense, compact, 1.5-10 cm long, 1-3 cm thick. Flowers white. Sepals 4-6 mm long, the lateral ones elongate-triangular, tapering from a broad base. Petals lanceolate, 4-6 mm long and 1 mm wide. Ovary sessile, stout. Lip ovate, 4-5 mm long, short-clawed at base, bearing 2 slender, retrorse, incurved callosites at the basal margin. Column 2 mm long, anther dorsal, with one pair of pollinia. Capsule ellipsoid, to 6 mm long, and 4 mm wide at maturity.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Spike tightly spiraled in more than one rank. Flower small to medium sized, the lip usually less than 9 mm. Flowers white, appearing in autumn (September to November).
Ecology Comments: Full sun to light shade, mowed or lightly grazed situations.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Moist, shady woods, thickets and swamp margins; soil rich in humus, slightly acidic.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Jul1983
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Opler, C.; rev. Y. Ogle, B. MacBryde (9/2000).
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 30Apr1991
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): ISAAC, J.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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  • Brown, J.R. 1986. Spiranthes ovalis Lindley var. erostellata Catling (Oval ladies'-tresses): A new orchid for Canada from Lambton County, Ontario. Plant Press 4(3): 84-86.

  • Brown, J.R., G.M. Allen, and M.J. Oldham 1987. Spiranthes ovalis Lindl. var. erostellata Catling. Two pages in K.M. Pryer and G.W. Argus (editors). Atlas of the Rare Vascular Plants of Ontario. Part 4. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. (looseleaf).

  • Case, F.W. and P.M. Catling. 1983. The genus Spiranthes in Michigan. Michigan Botanist 22:79-92.

  • Case, F.W., Jr. 1987. Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region. Revised Edition. Bulletin 48, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. 251 pp.

  • Catling, P.M. 1983. Spiranthes ovalis var. erostellata (Orchidaceae), a new autogamous variety from the eastern United States. Brittonia 35(2):120-125.

  • Correll, D.S. 1950 [1978]. Native orchids of North America north of Mexico. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 400 pp.

  • Correll, D.S. 1950. Native Orchids of North America, North of Mexico. Chronica Botanica Company, Waltham, Mass. USA. B50COR01PAUS

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Division of Forestry, Dept. of Conservation, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1236 pp.

  • Diggs, G.M., Jr., B.L. Lipscomb, and R.J. O'Kennon. 1999. Shinners and Mahler's Illustrated flora of north central Texas. Sida Botanical Miscellany No. 16. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Ft. Worth. 1626 pp.

  • Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Fernald, M.L. 1949. Gray's Manual of Botany, Eighth edition. American Book Co. New York. B49FER01PAUS

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. New Britton & Brown. Illustrated Flora. Lancaster Press Inc. Lancaster, Pa. B52GLE01PAUS

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 3 volumes. Hafner Press, New York. 1732 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K. Wooten, J.W. 1970. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. USA. B70GOD01PAUS

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  • Henry, L.K., W.E. Buker and D.L. Pearth. 1975. Western Pennsylvania Orchids. Castanea 40 (2):93-171.

  • Homoya, M.A. 1993. Orchids of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. 281 pp.

  • Homoya, M.A. 1993. Orchids of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis, Indiana. 276 pp.

  • Kamstra, J., M.J. Oldham, and P.A. Woodliffe. 1995. A Life Science Inventory and Evaluation of Six Natural Areas in the Erie Islands (Ontario). Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 140 pp. + appendices + maps.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Luer, C.A. 1975. The Native Orchids of United States and Canada Excluding Florida. B75LUE01PAUS

  • Luer, C.A. 1975. The native orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida. New York Botanical Garden. 361 pp.

  • McCance, R.M. and Burns, J.F. eds 1984. Ohio Endangered and Threatened Vascular Plants: Abstracts of State-Listed Taxa, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Department of Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio 635p. B84MCC01PAUS.

  • McCance, R.M., Jr., and J.F. Burns, eds. 1984. Ohio endangered and threatened vascular plants: Abstracts of state-listed taxa. Division Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Dept. Natural Resources, Columbus. 635 pp.

  • Sheviak, C. 1974. An introduction to the ecology of the Illinois Orchidaceae. Illinios State Museum, Springfield, IL. 89p.

  • Sheviak, C.J. 1974. An Introduction to the Ecology of the Illinois Orchidaceae. Scientific Papers XIV, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois. 89 pp.

  • Sheviak, C.T. 1974. An Introduction to the Ecology of the Illinois Orchidaceae, Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers XIV, Springfield, IL, U.S.A. B74SHE01PAUS

  • Thomas, R.D., and C.M. Allen. 1993. Atlas of the vascular flora of Louisiana. Volume 1: Ferns and fern allies, conifers, and monocotyledons. Louisiana Dept. Wildlife and Fisheries, Baton Rouge. 217 pp.

  • Whiting, R.E. and P.M. Catling. 1986. Orchids of Ontario: An Illustrated Guide. The CanaColl Foundation, Ottawa, Ontario. xii + 169 pp.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 806 pp.

  • Yatskievych, G. 1999. Steyermark's Flora of Missouri, Volume 1. Revised edition. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

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