Spiranthes spiralis (Herfstschroeforchis (BE) / Autumn Lady's-tresses (EN) / Herbst-Drehwurz (DE) / Spiranthe d'automne (FR) ) is the latest-blooming native species of orchid, blooming in August and September. Finding it definitely concludes the orchid season.
The slender spikes of 3-21 small greenish-white flowers do not grab attention and can easily be missed from a walking height. They become much more obvious from a low vantage point. The spikes are arranged in a row up the stem. In most plants this is twisted so that the flowers form a spiral pattern, but in some the twist is so slight that the flowers simply form a line along one side of the spike. The spiral can either be clockwise or anti-clockwise (both forms can be seen in the image !) and is mostly twisted les than 360°, although in some plants it may be though tree full turns.
In Belgium this is probably the most endangerd plant - still occuring with only 2 (!) flowering spikes in only one area it is realy on the edge of extinction. To study and document the species I went to a population in Holland with several 1000th of plants. In Holland the species is on the red list too, with only a few populations left but fortunately, due to the large number of plants in these populations, survival in the next years is guaranteed.
Image: Zuid-Holland (NL) - 03/09/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.
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