Monday, July 18, 2011

hooded ladies' tresses ~ 07/18/11 ~ Fort Ord

It's that time of year again - orchids! Posting this reminds me we should go look for some other orchids around town. Piperia anyone?

Often when I repeat previous identifications, I do a cursory look to make sure I have past posts correct, in this case another hooded ladies' tresses at Fort Ord on August 4, 2010. The CNPS plant list for Fort Ord shows this species as "Spiranthes porrifolia/romanzoffiana – Western/Hooded ladies' tresses", which is unusual having a slashed ID on one of their lists. Maybe they weren't sure? I cheated last year by simply going with what Native Orchids on Flickr told me.

This time I looked at Jepson for both S. porrifolia and S. romanzoffiana, but relative proportions of fused upper sepal with lateral petals sounds variable and somewhat subjective. Besides, most flower descriptions don't make much sense to me unless I compare pictures. The two best CalPhotos' for comparison purposes are these close-ups of western and hooded. I've come up with my own non-scientific metaphor on how to tell these two ladies' tresses apart: western has a long straight tongue (lower petal/lip) sticking out over wide lower lips (sepals), whereas hooded has an arrow-shaped tongue sticking out over missing lower lips.


Allison said...

I never would have thought those are orchids...funny how I have this preconceived idea of what an orchid is...probably the only ones I think of are Asian orchids. This is a lovely find.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi Allison. I had the same thought, too, when I first started exploring our local orchids, "That can't be an orchid!" The numerous blooms on close-up inspection have the standard orchid flower shape, like with this elegant rein orchid. I've probably walked right by numerous orchids and never knew.

Orchids and Nature said...

Your Hooded Ladies Tresses is very similar to our own rare Autumn Ladies Tresses which I'm going to photograph around the 15th of this month. This is the latest orchid to flower over here in Northern England and it's easy to miss because it's only 1 to 2inches in height.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi David. I remember your Spiranthes from last year. Bloggers from Ohio should be posting their native versions of ladies' tresses about now, too. Yours in the UK is much smaller than what we have. Hooded gets up to 1 foot tall. I have a new orchid to post tonight. Stay tuned.