Spiranthes odorata (Nutt.) Lindl.

Marsh Ladies' Tresses

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Ibidium odoratum

Spiranthes odorata, commonly called Marsh Ladies' Tresses, is distributed throughout the southeastern United States and southern mid-Atlantic region, from Texas to Delaware. It produces several basal or lower stem leaves which generally persist through flowering. In the fall and early winter, it bears an inflorescence of multiple small, white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. The inflorescence is covered in small hairs, and the center of the labellum is usually colored yellow or green. The edges of the labellum are crenulate or slightly lacerate. This orchid prefers wet environments, growing in swamps, marshes, bogs, and moist meadows and is known to grow in standing water.

Spiranthes odorata is globally secure, although it is rare or vulnerable throughout much of its range.


This orchid is capable of agamospermy but documented pollinators include Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus fervidus, Bombus impatiens and Bombus nevadensis.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, marshes, meadows, swamps, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
  • basal
  • stem
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a spike
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is simple
Labellum length:
4–16 mm
Sepal length:
4–18 mm
Plant height:
10–100 cm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data