Ladies’ Tresses

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Following my post earlier this summer about orchids in the woods, this clump of a very different type of orchid was growing in the lawn near the house. Fortunately, we had left the grass uncut for longer than we intended, and the mower had to be taken away for repairs. Otherwise, these Autumn Ladies’ Tresses would have grown no more than an inch or two, gone unnoticed and been mown down. We would never have known they were there. Their scientific name is Spiranthes spiralis, due to their spiral shape. They rely on bumble bees for pollination and they can survive below ground until such time as people’s mowers break down and allow these beauties to rise up! They are a protected species in some countries but are not particularly rare at the moment in the UK, where they are confined to southern parts. There were once Summer Ladies’ Tresses in this country too, but they became extinct due to loss of habitat in the 1950s. We will transplant them to a safer place where they can thrive out of reach of the cutter blades.