Spiranthes porrifolia Lindl.

Western Ladies' Tresses

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Gyrostachys porrifolia, Spiranthes romanzoffiana var. porrifolia

Spiranthes porrifolia, the Western Ladies' Tresses, is restricted to the western states in the US, with its center of distribution in the mountains of northern California. The basal leaves may be present at the time of flowering or may wither as the inflorescence develops. The terminal spike forms a tight spiral of yellow, tubular flowers with the tips of the sepals and petals curving outward. In addition to the flower color, this orchid is distinguished by the prominent calluses at the base of the lip. A permanent source of water is an important component of this orchid's habitat. It grows in full sun in damp meadows and along streams and can be found in seep areas on steep, rocky cliffs.

Although Spiranthes porrifolia is apparently secure, especially in California where portions of its range are protected within state and national parks, it is considered imperiled in Idaho and Washington.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, fens, marshes, meadows, seeps, stream bank


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • three
  • four
  • five
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:
4–9.5 mm
Sepal length:
4.6–11 mm
Plant height:
10–75 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 Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data