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Spiranthes spiralis

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 6 September 2010 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Series: European Terrestial Orchids

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

Canon EOS 400D 1/640 second F/4.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

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.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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carla from Netherlands

Bij dit soort foto's is mijn eerste gedachte altijd, je moet het maar zien.
Prachtige groene tinten die allemaal perfect bij elkaar passen.

6 Sep 2010 6:43am

@carla: Je moet ze inderdaad maar zien ... Heel veel voorbijgangers vroegen zich af waarom ik daar in godsnaam grasspietjes lag te fotograferen... tot ze de bloemetjes in de gaten kregen :-) Zoals zo vaak is onbekend ook onbemind - en deze soort verdient toch echt wel om bemind te worden volgens mij :-) Ik behoor alvast tot de bewonderaars. Komende dagen post ik allicht nog enkele details van de bloemen. Dank voor je commentaar alweer, Carla.

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

so delicate !

6 Sep 2010 6:57am

@Veronique: It is indeed on of the most delicate orchid species, native in Europe. In France there is also Spiranthes aestivalis ... almost a copy of this species, but flowering early summer. I had not yet the opportunity to visit those populations, but maybe you can find them someday.

Cosmin from Bucharest, Romania

wow very beautiful , the dof is great

6 Sep 2010 7:23am

@Cosmin: Thank you very much, Cosmin. I'm very glad you like this image.

Marilla from Turku, Finland

Beautiful shapes and tones! Those white flowers give nice contrast to this shot.

6 Sep 2010 9:12am

@Marilla: The shape of the flowering spikes is realy wonderfull. Especially those specimen with a two or three times turn. It is amazing the way nature adapts ... I'll tell more about that in next images. Thank you again for your comment, Marilla.

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Ja, deze zou je zo maar kunnen missen vanaf een hoog gezichtspunt...
Mooi en elegant bloempje op de ranke steeltjes:-) Fijn dat er bij 'ons' nog veel groeien..!

6 Sep 2010 12:12pm

@Marleen: Veel en zeldzaam zijn steeds heel erg relatieve begrippen in de natuur. De soort is met uitsterven bedreigd en ook in Nederland is het aantal groeiplaatsen dramatisch geslonken. Gelukkig zijn de populaties echter nog meer dan voldoende groot daar om het voortbestaan te garanderen (in tegenstelling tot onze enige Belgische vindplaats.) Het is volgens mij de meest elegante wilde orchidee die in Europa te vinden is en door de wel heel erg late bloeiperiode (de meeste soorten bloeien in mei en juni) een heel aparte soort. De komende dagen toon ik nog enkele details van deze wonderlijke bloempjes.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

I don't know I think these slender spikes have my full attention because of their fragility. Very pretty. I think you will be lost when winter comes and all these beautiful plants have gone to sleep.

6 Sep 2010 7:08pm

@Dutçh: In winter I will focus on mosses and lichens again - making the circle complete :-) Besides that I will have to get some order in my last-years images and of course there is the preparation of the next orchid-season - finding new documentation, searching new sites, etc etc etc... winter will be too short :) But first ... autumn - with the golden and bronzen colors ... Next days I will show some details of this splendid orchid with the story of the polination etc. Thanks for taking some time to comment on my images again, Kristen. Have a wonderfull day.

Mary from PA, United States

Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing the information about you subjects. I am continually amazed and learning new things from folks like you here on AM3. Thank you.

7 Sep 2010 1:17am

@Mary: I'm glad to share knowing there are some interested readers :-) So thanks also for that !

Manubhai from Bangalore, India

Mind blowing....awesome shot...

7 Sep 2010 4:15am

@Manubhai: Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Manubhai.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Erg mooi zoals ze daar zo rank en sierlijk staan te pronken! Gelukkig dat we er dankzij jou vol van kunnen genieten, want je moet ze inderdaad maar zien!

7 Sep 2010 6:53am

@Monique: Dat is toch met elke vorm van macrofotografie zo... je moet het maar zien ... en dat telt zeker ook voor de meeste van uw opnames ! Fotografie is nu eenmaal "de kunst van het kijken".

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

How wonderful they are still there for you to get this fantastic shot and their future guaranteed.

7 Sep 2010 8:46pm

@Christine: Hope to go back next year. Weather was not realy helping making good images that day. But for now i'm happy with the results. The species has just so much photographic elegance ... Thanks for making the effort in commenting a lot of my images again, Christine. Greetz !

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

so beautiful! superb DOF and tones

8 Sep 2010 4:33pm

@Magda: Glad you like this one too, Magda. Thank you for your comment !

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

This is fantastic work Johan! They´re so beautifully focussed and portrayed, well worth a print! Didn,t know that species before, simply amazing watching them doing their pirouettes in the woods...

9 Sep 2010 6:31am

@daniela scharnowski: It is a very very nice orchid-species. (Does not grow in the woods but in short grassland). If I ever make an "orchid-book" this image will be an option for the cover :-))) Thanks again, Daniela !

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Eine Traumaufnahme ! Ich kenne nur die Sommerdrehwurz !

9 Sep 2010 5:01pm

@Loner: I've never seen the "Summerdrehwurz" but I know it is very similar. Is spiranthes aestivalis growing in your region ??? (In that case I have to visit Austria next year !!!! ). Thanks for the compliment, Sonja.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

What a beautiful grouping! I like the three different heights of the stems. As usual, the light and background are wonderful. You are so good at finding the endangered species and documenting them. I know this is not luck on your part, because you draw upon your extensive knowledge and experience. Thanks for the info on the spiral-I actually looked at your images in reverse order.

11 Sep 2010 1:26pm

@Julie Brown: It is the last orchid that can be found in "orchid-season" but is one of the most elegant ... It is like "The icing on the cake". Today (saturday) I visited the only two flowering spikes left in Belgium ... they are still there ... (yipie !) and that was my last orchid-trip for the year (Grmbl !). Within 6 month's new season will start ;-). Have a nice weekend, Julie and thanks for making so many extensive comments.

Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

Fijn en mooi. Een speels effect met de scherpe en onscherpe grassen.

20 Jan 2011 9:36am

@Aubélia: Dank je om wat oudere foto's te doorbladeren op mijn portfolio. Groetjes.

Canon EOS 400D
1/640 second
ISO 200
150 mm