Autumn Lady’s-tresses

Common name:
Autumn lady’s-tresses
Spiranthe spiralis
Cúilin Muire
Flowering period:
Late July-September
Calcareous grasslands and heaths
Conservation Status:
Classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016

Wonderful spiral flowers of the rare orchid Autumn Lady’s -tresses in bloom at present in the Burren National Park and on the Aran Islands

Short description:
Beautiful orchid with small white flowers which are spirally arranged on twisted leafless spikes, delicately scented. Leaves oval, blue-green forming a rosette beside the stem base.

Noteworthy characteristics:
Wonderful autumnal orchid, easily overlooked due to its small size and greenish-white colour.  Its small white flowers are very beautiful and require closer observation (hand lens) to be fully appreciated as the frilly edges sparkle as if  covered with tiny crystals.

Uses and other points of interest:
There are no recorded uses for this wild orchid in Ireland

Personal note:
This is a truly beautiful orchid and one that I look forward to seeing every year in late Autumn in the Burren  and  on Inis Oírr where I have seen numerous specimens. This year I found a few new sites for this wild orchid.  It never fails to delight.


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