Spiranthes romanzoffiana (Hooded Ladies'-tresses)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Orchidaceae (Orchid)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; wet meadows, fens, coniferous swamps
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:5 to 18 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are closely intertwined in 3 or 4 rows that spiral up a 1 to 5 inch spike with up to 45 blossoms, typically 3 flowers in a cycle of the spiral. The petals and sepals are white with a greenish to yellowish throat, up to ½ inch long, opening out in a trumpet appearance. The end of the lower lip unfurls down like a wavy tongue, a bit fiddle-shaped and ruffled at the tip half. 2 lance shaped sepals, lateral and upper petals come together but are not fused, forming a broad tubular hood above, the petal and sepal tips turned up.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are long and slender, the lower up to up to 9 inches long, 1/3 inch wide, becoming short-bladed sheathes up the stem, the uppermost greatly reduced and bract-like. The stem is stiffly erect.


Found in northern Minnesota's vast northern swamps and wetlands, Hooded Ladies'-tresses populations are widely scattered and typically few in numbers. There are 5 species of Spiranthes in Minnesota and some can be a challenge to ID. The upper and lateral petals and sepals of S. romanzoffiana appear to be fused and form a broader hood than either Nodding Ladies'-tresses (S. cernua) or Great Plains Ladies'-tresses (S. magnicamporum). The latter species also typically has no remaining basal leaves by flowering time.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Hubbard County.


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