Spiranthes lucida (H.H. Eat.) Ames

Shining Ladies' Tresses

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Ibidium plantagineum, Triorchis plantaginea

Spiranthes lucida, commonly called Shining Ladies' Tresses, is distributed in eastern and parts of central Canada and the United States, from Alabama to Quebec. It has 3-5 light green, glossy basal leaves which are usually present during flowering. In early summer, it bears an inflorescence of up to 20 small, white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. The lateral petals are connivent with the dorsal sepal to form a hood over the column. It blooms earlier than many species of Spiranthes, and can be distinguished by the yellow coloration on its labellum. The inflorescence is often covered with small hairs. It favors moist, rocky, or sandy soils and can be found along riverbanks, in fens, and in moist woodlands.

Spiranthes lucida is considered globally secure, although it is considered rare, vulnerable, or presumed extirpated throughout much of its range.


This orchid differs from most Spiranthes species because the nectar is secreted onto the ventral surface of the column and the flower is adapted to bees with short tongues such as Augochlorella aurata, and Lasioglossum imitatum.

Ecosystem Type

Disturbed habitats, fens, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a spike
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is simple
Labellum length:
3–6 mm
Sepal length:
4.5–6 mm
Plant height:
4–40 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 Secure

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data