John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe

Home The genus Spiranthes               

Origin: Spiranthes literally translates to "spirally arranged flower".

The species:- 

S. aestivalis
S. romanzoffiana
S. spiralis











This is predominantly a North American genus with just four of the approximately thirty species present in Europe. There are also a few species that occur as far afield as the Far East and Australia.

This genus characteristically has two to six fleshy roots (or slender tubers if you prefer) and as its name suggests, the flower spike is twisted on its axis thereby createing a regimented row of florets that spiral upwards to the tip. Individual flowers are small and the components of the perianth, including the lip, are more or less equal in length and so give it a tube like appearance.

Spiranthes is a closely related genus to Goodyera and they share  a well developed and efficient pollination mechanism with a scent that seems highly attractive to small insects.