“Popped up in my yard!”

Spiranthes

I got a call this week from a friend who had discovered a new wildflower while mowing her yard. A true nature lover, she carefully mowed around the plants, finished the job, picked up the phone, and gave me a call. When I came running I was happy to see that her discovery was the lovely orchid Nodding Ladies-Tresses, or Spiranthes cernua. She had several plants in her lawn and among the stepping stones in her front walk, some close to a foot tall. What a lovely flower! It’s blooming now in moist places on the plateau, sometimes even in standing water. Nodding Ladies-Tresses was used medicinally by Native Americans as a tea to treat urinary disorders and venereal disease and as a wash to strengthen weak infants. Spiranthes refers to the spiraling nature of the tiny white flowers; cernua means nodding. 

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