Dichromanthus cinnabarinus (Lex.) Garay

Scarlet Ladies' Tresses

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Spiranthes cinnabarina, Stenorrhynchos cinnabarinum

Dichromanthus cinnabarinus, the Scarlet Ladies’ Tresses, is widely distributed from Guatemala through the mountains of Mexico to the Chisos Mountains in Texas. This orchid, with its brilliant flowers and bracts, is considered one of the most striking orchids in the southwest. The petals, lip and sepals curve backwards at their tips creating a wide opening at the end of the tubular flowers. Tiny hairs that cover the flowers slow down the drying effects of the hot sun and low humidity. This orchid grows on rocky mountain slopes, dry woodlands, canyon meadows and along the banks of intermittent streams.

Dichromanthus cinnabarinus is secure across its range in Central America but its conservation status has not been reported for Texas in the U.S.


Pollination rates are low for this orchid. It is thought to be pollinated by bees and the red flowers may attract hummingbirds in search of nectar.

Ecosystem Type

Meadows, stream bank, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
  • alternate
  • stem
Number of leaves on stem:
  • three
  • four
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
  • crimson
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a spike
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is simple
Labellum length:
15–20 mm
Sepal length:
15–20 mm
Plant height:
50–90 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