Syn.: Gyrostachys gemmipara (Sm.) Kuntze, Gyrostachys romanzoffiana (Cham.) MacMill., Gyrostachys stricta Rydb., Ibidium romanzoffianum (Cham.) House, Ibidium strictum (Rydb.) House, Neottia gemmipara Sm., Orchiastrum romanzoffianum (Cham.) Greene, Spiranthes gemmipara (Sm.) Lindl., Spiranthes stricta (Rydb.) A. Nelson, Triorchis romanzoffiana (Cham.) Nieuwl., Triorchis stricta (Rydb.) Nieuwl.
Family: Orchidaceae Juss.

Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Distribution: Mostly North American species with marginal representation in western parts of British Isles. In North America it is found from Alaska, across all of Canada and in US southward to California and New Mexico and in the north east states. Absent from Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginias southward.

Ecology: Bogs, wet meadows, tundra, close to water, from sea level to 3400 m of elevation. It’s been reported that the European populations do not reproduce sexually, only vegetatively. Blooms late, in July and August.

Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Description: Perennial herb with stems 10–40 cm tall, leafy, from tuberous roots. Basal leafs in a rosette, linear to lanceolate, 5–20 cm long, to 3 cm wide, reduced in size upward on the stem. Inflorescence is a raceme-like spike, crowded, 3–8 cm long, flowers arranged spirally in 3 rows; flowers white to yellowish, fragrant, 6–10 mm long; sepals and lateral petals fused, forming a hood (hence one of common names); lip 5–10 mm, fiddle-like, with 3 veins, bent downward; no spur. Fruit is an erect capsule, 2–7 mm, seeds monoembryonic.

Threat and protection: As all orchids protected internationally by CITES. Endangered in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Arizona, threatened in Iowa, Ohio, vulnerable in New York.

Note: Highly variable species with extreme morphology in California and southwestern Oregon, where the plants exhibit yellowish flowers, loosely spiraled inflorescences and spreading lateral sepals.

Spiranthes romanzoffianaSpiranthes romanzoffiana
Spiranthes romanzoffiana

These images were taken in Canada, Alberta, Bragg Creek (by Karel Bergmann: August 2013), and Canada, British Columbia, Kootenay NP (by Vít Grulich, July 2007).