Spiranthes eatonii Ames ex P.M. Brown

Locations ofSpiranthes eatonii Ames ex P.M. Brown in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Spiranthes eatonii Ames ex P.M. Brown
Common Name
Eaton's Ladies'-tresses
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Spiranthes eatonii Ames ex P.M. Brown
Apparently this species is unique in flowering during the winter or spring in the SE and Gulf coastal region. First collected from a sandy pineland, Cape Henry, June 17, 1935, Fernald, Griscom, & Long #4618 (reported in N. Amer. Native Orchid J. 5:11 (1999)). Plants documented in June 2016 in a frequently burned longleaf pine savanna at Blackwater Ecological Preserve in Isle of Wight County are consistent with the concept of S. eatonii and bloom at the same time and in a structurally similar habitat as Fernald’s 1935 collection at Cape Henry. Confounding the circumscription of the taxon in Virginia are plants growing in a periodically mowed, moist, acidic meadow in Lee Park in the City of Petersburg. These plants are morphologically identical to those at Blackwater Ecological Preserve but bloom 2-3 weeks later. Due to the morphological and ecological similarities between the two populations, both are tentatively treated as S. eatonii. However, genetic work by Dueck, et al. (2014), found that Florida S. eatonii samples fit haphazardly within a larger monophyletic yet unresolved clade including S. lacera var. lacera and S. lacera var. gracilis, and suggests that S. eatonii may simply be an early-flowering form of S. lacera (s.l.). Clearly, further study is needed to confirm the specific status of S. eatonii.
Dry to damp open pine woodlands and meadows. Rare, s. Coastal Plain.
Native Status

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