We pulled into the parking lot at Johns Creek Lake in the Sumter National Forest in Union County, South Carolina last Saturday morning. And there in the shade at the edge of the parking lot was a…
single lady’s tresses orchid. Just one. I looked around but there were no others to be seen.
A slightly closer view
Buds at the top and opened flowers further down the stem
A closer view of the open flowers; the green ‘centers’ are visible
A close up view
I believe this is Spiranthes lacera (Slender Lady's Tresses) is native to the United States and grows in the eastern United States from Quebec and Ontario in Canada to Texas. It has been reported from several counties – although not Union County – in South Carolina. In this location it is probably the Southern Lady’s Tresses orchid.
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- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Slender Lady's Tresses)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Spiranthes gracilis var. gracilis
- Southeastern Flora: Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis (Northern Slender Lady's Tresses)
- Missouri Plants: Spiranthes lacera (Slender Lady's Tresses)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Spiranthes gracilis var. gracilis (Southern Slender Ladies'-tresses)