Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Higher Taxonomy
Family: OrchidaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, terrestrial [growing on other pls], non-green (nutrition from association of roots with fungi) or green, generally from rhizomes or tubers with few to many fleshy to slender roots; cauline leaves +- reduced to sheathing stem bracts or not. Leaf: 1--many, basal to cauline, linear to +- round, alternate to opposite (if only 1 pair), generally sessile. Inflorescence: flowers 1--many, spike or raceme, bracted. Flower: bisexual, bilateral, in bud generally rotating 180° by twisting ovary (position of parts indicated after twisting); sepals generally 3, generally free, generally petal-like, uppermost generally erect, lateral with chin- or spur-like projection (mentum) or not; petals 3, 1 (lip) different, spurred or not; stamens generally 1 (3 in Cypripedium, 2 functional, 1 a staminode), fused with style, stigma into column, pollen generally lumped, generally removed as unit by insect; ovary inferior, 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal, stigma 3 lobed, generally under column tip. Fruit: capsule. Seed: many, minute.
Genera In Family: +- 800 genera, +- 25000 species: especially tropics (worldwide except Antarctica). Many cultivated for ornament, especially Cattleya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum; Vanilla planifolia Andrews fruits used to flavor food. Note: Platanthera may be paraphyletic without inclusion of Piperia (Bateman et al. 2009 Ann Bot 104:431--445); study needed.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald A. Coleman, Dieter H. Wilken & William F. Jennings, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald A. Coleman, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Habit: Erect. Leaf: Basal, sometimes also ascending-cauline, linear to lanceolate [ovate, eastern North America], 0 to several at flowering. Inflorescence: spike, flowers in generally dense to lax spiral; bracts < to > flowers, concave around ovary, gradually reduced upward, lanceolate. Flower: Generally white, sometime ivory-green to cream [pink, Asia], sepals, lateral petals narrow-lanceolate; upper sepal +- fused to lateral petals, lower sepals +- free, +- = lip; lip with 2 small basal nectar glands, not spurred; column < lip. Fruit: Ovoid.
Species In Genus: 40 species: North America, also Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Eurasia, Asia, northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand. Etymology: (Greek: coiled flowers)
Jepson eFlora Author: Matthew C. Pace & Kenneth M. Cameron
Reference: Sheviak 2012 Native Orchid Conf J 9(4):1--6, Sheviak 2013 Native Orchid Conf J 10(2):1--31; Pace & Cameron 2019 Taxon 68:199--217
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Key to Spiranthes

Previous taxon: Platanthera yosemitensis
Next taxon: Spiranthes perexilis

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Citation for this treatment: Matthew C. Pace & Kenneth M. Cameron 2023, Spiranthes, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on May 17, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 17, 2024.