Autumn Ladies'-tresses

The Autumn Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) is the latest-blooming native species of orchid, blooming in August and September. It is characterised by a spiral inflorescence produced after the leaves have died down. The inflorescence can be very small (as little as 50mm high) especially in short grazed grassland. It occurs most frequently in close cropped grassland overlying chalk or limestone.

The area of distribution is from the Mediterranean zone of Northern Europe northwards and westwards to the Western Himalayas. In Great Britain and Ireland its northern-most occurrence is on the Isle of Man.


  • Ophrys spiralis L. 1753 (Basionym)
  • Epipactis spiralis (L.) Crantz 1769
  • Serapias spiralis (L.) Scop. 1772
  • Ophrys autumnalis Balb. 1801
  • Neottia spiralis (L.) Sw. 1805
  • Neottia autumnalis (Balb.) Pers. 1807
  • Ibidium spirale (L.) Salisb. 1812
  • Spiranthes autumnalis (Balb.) Rich. 1817
  • Neottia autumnalis (Balb.) Steud. 1821
  • Gyrostachys autumnalis (Balb.) Dumort. 1827
  • Spiranthes glauca Raf. 1837
  • Gyrostachys spiralis (L.) Kuntze 1891

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