Spiranthes ovalis
Lesser ladies'-tresses
Image of Spiranthes ovalis

Photo by Richard W. Pippen 

Key Characteristics

Small orchid (10-40 cm) of open, sandy soils; leaves lanceolate and spreading, tapering to a narrow clasping base; flowers white, arranged in a dense compact spiral on the stem, relatively small (4-5 mm).

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
  • State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled
  • Global Rank: G5? - Secure (inexact)

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan12009
Kalamazoo32013
Washtenaw32011
Distribution map for Spiranthes ovalis

Updated 5/16/2016. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Lesser ladies'-tresses occurs in open, sandy soil, old roads and open fields.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at slaugh14@msu.edu.

Associated Plants

Big bluestem, little bluestem, cordgrass, prairie coreopsis, wild geranium, pale-leaved sunflower, false boneset, smooth sumac, rosin weed, yellow-pimpernel, hoary vervain, prairie violet, golden alexanders, Indian grass, bluejoint, mountain mint, gray dogwood, and blue-eyed grass.

Management

To maintain this species, protect habitat and hydrological and natural disturbance regimes. This species likely requires natural disturbances associated with prairie habitat such as fire or brush removal to prevent woody plant succession. Significant increases in vegetative and reproductive vigor have been observed following early spring and fall burns; late spring burns and summer can damage plants. Much of this habitat type has been lost or severely degraded. Many prairie remnants are vulnerable to common right-of-way maintenance activities such as mowing, herbiciding, and bulldozing.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Jul 26, 2016]

References

Survey References

Technical References