Spiranthes odorata

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: common ladies' tresses
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Orchidaceae
Native Range: Eastern Canada to Texas and Florida
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant


Best grown in moist, boggy, acidic soils in part shade. Plants spread slowly by rhizomes to form colonies in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lady's tresses (sometimes also called fragrant lady's tresses) is an orchid that is native to marshes, bogs, swamps and other wet areas in the eastern United States from New Jersey and Tennessee south to Florida and Texas. It features small, very fragrant, hooded, white flowers densely arranged in vertical, slightly spiral-like rows on spikes typically growing 9-18" (less frequently to 24") tall. Blooms in late summer to fall, often to first frost. Lance-shaped, linear leaves in basal rosettes, with some leaves extending up the flower spikes. Spiranthes comes from the Greek words speira meaning spiral and anthos meaning flower. The spiraling flower arrangement is the result of uneven cell growth, which results in a twisting of the flower stems. Synonymous with and often listed and sold as Spiranthes odorata. See Spiranthes cernua var. odorata 'Chadd's Ford' which is a cultivar featuring slightly taller stems and larger flowers.


No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Moist meadows, moist woodland gardens, moist wooded slopes or edges of ponds, streams or water gardens. A classic bog plant.