Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Species, Natural Hybrid Orchid, Nodding Ladies' Tresses, Nodding Spiranthes
Spiranthes cernua

Family: Orchidaceae (or-kid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Spiranthes (spy-RAN-theez) (Info)
Species: cernua (SER-new-a) (Info)
Additional cultivar information: (natural hybrid)

Synonym:Gyrostachys cernua
Synonym:Neottia cernua
Synonym:Ophrys cernua
Synonym:Spiranthes annua
Synonym:Spiranthes constricta

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5 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jackidee On Nov 8, 2011, jackidee from Sherwood, OR wrote:

This has grown to a nice colony in my damp shade garden near hostas, blooming reliably in October and November even as other plants damaged by frost. I only notice fragrance when cut flowers are brought inside, as they warm up. It is a treasure to bloom so late for me.

Positive hgtnpat On Oct 24, 2006, hgtnpat from Weir, TX wrote:

We discovered this plant growing on our property in Central Texas last October. It bloomed from October until frost. I am not convinced that this plant needs constant moisture, as we have been going through one of the worst droughts in recorded history for this area, and have experienced record heat. My records show we received our last spring rain June 24, 2006 (monthly total 3.70). The next measureable rain event did not happen until Sept 4, 2006 (.06"). The monthly total for Sept, 2006 was 5.80. Maybe the plant is dormant in the summer and begins to grow with the fall rains?

Commets welcomed.

Neutral Baa On Aug 31, 2002, Baa wrote:

A terrestrial orchid from North America.

Has linear, smooth, mid-green leaves. Bears tiny, pure white, scented flowers in a spiral formation up the flowering stem.

Flowers late August - October

Needs a sheltered spot. Likes a moist but well-drained soil in light shade. Don't let the soil dry out for too long. Will multiply where happy.

Neutral RiseAnn On Jul 1, 2001, RiseAnn from Rapid City, SD (Zone 5b) wrote:

Sweetly fragrant, porceline white flower spires. Long lasting cut flower. Damp organic soils are ideal.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Worcester, Massachusetts
Plymouth, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Panama, New York
Glouster, Ohio
Sherwood, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Burns, Tennessee
Weir, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia

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