CPC Plant Profile: Ute Ladies'-tresses
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Plant Profile

Ute Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis)

The flowers of Ute ladies' tresses consists of few to many white or ivory flowers spiraling up a flowering spike. These flowers make their appearance during the months of August and early September. Photo Credit: Deb Clark
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • State: BC, CO, ID, MT, NE, NV, UT, WA, WY
  • Nature Serve ID: 129296
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/06/1993

A beautiful perennial, terrestrial orchid with cream colored flowers. The orchid grow in moist soils on primary or secondary flood plains of rivers or wet, open meadows and springs. This species is known from populations in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/30/2020
  • Reproductive Research

Tepedino is studying the reproductive biology of this species (Tepedino 2002; Tepedino and Sipes 2000)

  • 09/30/2020
  • Propagation Research

The orchid has been grown from seed at the Center for Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) facility at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from approximately 63 sporadic occurrences in lower-elevation wet, herbaceous-dominated habitats in interior western North America. The species was Federally listed (U.S.) in 1992 when it was only known from Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. Since that time, it has been found in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia. Utah and Colorado have the most plants and occurrences. Most occurrences are small, with 81% having less than 1000 plants and 95% occupying less than 50 acres. Approximately 12 occurrences are considered protected and appropriately managed. Although trends are difficult to determine, habitat condition is known to be deteriorating at some sites. Several historic populations in Utah and Colorado are presumed extirpated. The riparian habitat on which this species depends has been drastically modified by urbanization and stream channelization for agriculture and development. Habitat loss or alteration from competition from non-native plants and vegetation succession appear to be the most widespread threats.

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat loss, fragmentation, or alteration Modification of hydrology of occupied or potentially suitable habitat Grazing each year during the flowering period Pollinators and their habitat must be protected to insure adequate reproduction Invasiv

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

Approximately 60,000 individuals, generally distributed as localized clusters of small colonies (10 50 individuals). There are large populations (several thousand individuals) in three states.

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

The orchid has been grown from seed at the Center for Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) facility at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Tepedino is studying the reproductive biology of this species (Tepedino 2002; Tepedino and Sipes 2000) McGonigle is studying the root associated fungi of this species (McGonigle and Sheridan 2004)

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

Currently, this species is managed as a federally threatened species.

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

To adequately access population size. Not all individuals are above-ground or flower every year and the orchid cannot be definitively detected except when it is flowering. The number of flowering individuals fluctuates markedly from year to year, making censusing difficult. Protect watershed areas to insure key orchid habitat. Restore natural fluvial processes and stream channel complexity to ensure formation and maintenance of occupied and suitable habitat. Control invasive plant species in occupied and suitable habitat. Understand and manage for suitable pollinator habitat.

Lucy Jordan and Sylvia Torti
  • 01/01/2010

Determine how to grow plantlets produced at the Center for Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) into adult plants and then the re-introduction of these adults into natural habitat.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Spiranthes diluvialis
Authority Sheviak
Family Orchidaceae
CPC Number 4077
ITIS 196426
USDA SPDI6
Common Names Ute ladies'-tresses | Ute lady's tresses | diluvium ladies'-tresses | Ute ladies' tresses
Associated Scientific Names Spiranthes diluvialis | Spiranthes romanzoffiana var. diluvialis
Distribution Currently found in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
State Rank
State State Rank
British Columbia S1
Colorado S2
Idaho S1
Montana S1
Nebraska S1
Nevada S1
Utah S1
Washington S1
Wyoming S1S2
Habitat

Silty loam alluvial soils associated with wetlands or floodplains of perennial streams in intermontane valleys.

Ecological Relationships

This orchid has extremely small seeds that likely require mycorrhizal fungi to germinate and establish. Anthophorans (Anthophora spp) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are the most important pollinators of this species (Sipes and Tepedino 1995). As the orchid only provides nectar to pollinators, other flowering plants must be present in the vicinity to attract pollinators and meet pollinator needs. The orchid requires soils that are moist to the surface throughout the growing season (it flowers in late summer). The orchid appears tolerant of disturbance caused by natural fluvial processes.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Anthophorine bees Anthophora terminalis Link
Bumble bees Bombus sp. Confirmed Pollinator Link
Honey bees Apis mellifera Confirmed Pollinator Link
Solitary Bees Floral Visitor Link
Flies
Syrphid flies Syrphidae flies Floral Visitor Link
Other
Yellowjackets Vespula spp. Floral Visitor Link

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