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Spiranthes odorata

Spiranthes odorata
Early September – flower spike just starting to elongate
fragrant ladies' tresses
Blooming in early October
Synonym(s) Spiranthes cernua var. odorata
Common name fragrant ladies' tresses
Family orchidaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z5-9)
Flowers white (summer-fall)
Size 12-24"
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes moist or wet soil

Hardy orchid native to a large range of eastern North America. White flowers smell like jasmine. I set our first one into the partly shaded side garden a few years ago, and noticed it tentatively returning for a few years, but never a bloom. More recently, I purchased a second specimen, and set it in a pot in our bog filter, where it remains consistently moist. So far, it seems a lot happier than our first contender.

Spiranthes odorata
Flowers have faded, but seed pods are still green in late December.

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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Last modified: December 31, 2012
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