single lily spike, 3 vertical rows of flowers - please help ID for me

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Farmer Bruce, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Farmer Bruce

    Farmer Bruce Member

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    In my wild hay field I am getting more and more herbs and weeds but in the last week this new discovery. About 10 inches tall with a single stem and two lily type leaves at the base that are 3 inches long and a bit burned by the sun. Flowers are creamy white in colour tinged with pink on the tips of the lower ones and there is a slight twist to the flower spike. The attached photos are evening shots and the one from above is somewhat out of focus. If it can be identified, I also would like to know how far down the bulb is likely to be so I can dig it out and transplant it before cutting the hay next month. It appears to have the leaves of the Alaska rein-orchid and the flowers of the ladies tresses on page 123 of Pojar and MacKinnons' Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast
    Thanks in advance
    Farmer Bruce
     

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  2. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    It looks very like Spiranthes aestivalis [summer lady's tresses]Our book says that it has cylindrical roots.
     
  3. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Possibly Spiranthes romanzoffiana as you suggest. "Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers of British Columbia" by C.P. Lyons states ''The distinguishing feature about ladies' tresses is the 3 vertical rows of flowers which spiral around the central stem". Fragrant and apparently variable. A closeup of the flower may help those familiar with it , possibly to distinguish from Platanthera {syn. Habenaria} species. Maybe GOOGLE web and images for pics, including roots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2007
  4. Farmer Bruce

    Farmer Bruce Member

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    Thanks for the info - I looked at the rein-orchids at Manning Park and they are definitely different. I tink you are dorrect that these are Ladies Tresses but this one is much taller than the photo I saw in the book so I wanted to be sure - I shall have to be carefull digging it up to be sure I do not brake the root. - I don't want to mow it and my haying equipment is not super accurate so I need to move it. Maybe I will take my aircompressor and generator out there and blow the dirt away from the root just to be sure.
    Thanks Again
     
  5. unther

    unther Active Member

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    >I shall have to be carefull digging it up to be sure I do not brake the root. - I don't want to mow it and my haying equipment is not super accurate so I need to move it. Maybe I will take my aircompressor and generator out there and blow the dirt away from the root just to be sure.

    Actually, when you move it, take as much soil as possible! That's right, dig up a huge scoop! Our western native orchids are notorious for being dependent upon mycorhizal relationships. You'll need the symbiotic fungus to establish in the new location and for that you'll want a generous supply of the existing colony. To find the bulb with minimal disturbance, you could take a really narrow trowel or old spoon and dig a bit of soil away from one side of the plant, but only enough to expose one side of the stem, and follow it down until you see the top of the bulb, which should be where the stem starts to swell. I doubt you'll have to go very far, which is good because this could be rather tedious. You want to minimize soil and root disturbance, so treat this as exploratory surgery.
     
  6. Farmer Bruce

    Farmer Bruce Member

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    Thanks for that info. I got it out, before I read this, with a 7" diameter and 4" deep rootbal and found it has two others there - I dug out one of the small ones and exposed the whole root to see the size of the bulb which is quite small on the two inch baby one so I added it to the ball with the other two and watered it a little. I will get more soil from the area and pot it until I figure out the best place for it.
     
  7. Farmer Bruce

    Farmer Bruce Member

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    Photos of the Ladies Tresses before and after lifting from its field location. The pink tinge is now brown as it ages.
     

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  8. unther

    unther Active Member

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    Well, now we know how far down the roots grow! I suppose this shouldn't be surprising, since they're moist seep plants and such plants tend not to be deep-rooted--because, hey, all their water and nutrients are right there on or near the surface. I still think I'd have tried to get a larger root ball, but that might work. I'd watch the flowering one and when its seed is ripe, scatter it all over the place, especially in spots that seem similar to the habitat in which it was orginally growing. Chances are that some of it will fall in a favorable spot. You shouldn't have to skimp, since orchids produce seeds numbering well into the thousands. Also consider donating some--seed exchanges, native plant growers, botanical gardens, etc.
     

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