Spiranthes lacera (Raf.) Raf. var. lacera

Locations ofSpiranthes lacera (Raf.) Raf. var. lacera in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Spiranthes lacera (Raf.) Raf. var. lacera
Common Name
Northern Slender Ladies'-tresses
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Not in Flora of Virginia (see Spiranthes lacera (Raf.) Raf. var. gracilis (Bigelow) Luer)
The occurence and distribution of this variety in Virginia is uncertain. It is generally considered a more northern and western variety than var. gracilis. Thus, Bentley's attribution (2000) to Lee County, apparently based on observation, is phytogeographically plausible. The variety is said to differ from var. gracilis in having larger and more widely spaced flowers, basal leaves present at flowering time, and an earlier flowering period (usually July). Except for having an overlapping flowering period, such plants have been collected in Floyd and Patrick counties; there is an unvouchered record from Franklin County. It's likely that other such populations exist but have been overlooked due to only a single entity having been recognized in previous editions of the Atlas. The existence of populations such as those referenced above suggest incomplete lineage sorting in our region. Alternatively, multiple taxa may be inhabiting the same site, an option supported by the occasional presence of another unrelated species. Further observations of this phenomenon would be very informative.
The Patrick County station is a dry (perhaps seasonally damp) roadside bank and ditch, mostly sunny, with a mix of graminoids and herbaceous dicots. All three known localities are underlain by mafic metamorphic rocks. Var. lacera could be found in any number of similarly dry, sunny habitats as var. gracilis.
Native Status

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