Herb: Autumn Lady's Tresses


Latin name: Spiranthes spiralis


Synonyms: Ophrys spiralis, Spiranthes autumnalis


Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)



Medicinal use of Autumn Lady's Tresses:

The tuberous root has been used as an aphrodisiac. A tincture of the root is used as a homeopathic remedy. It is used in the treatment of skin affections, painful breasts, pain in the kidneys and eye complaints.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

Flovering:
August to
September


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Hilly pastures, downs, moist meadows and grassy coastal dunes, usually on a calcareous substratum. Dry hilly fields.

Propagation of Autumn Lady's Tresses:

Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hilly pastures, downs, moist meadows and grassy coastal dunes, usually on a calcareous substratum. Dry hilly fields.

Known hazards of Spiranthes spiralis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.