Spiranthes spiralis (L.) Chevall., Fl. Gén. Env. Paris 2: 330 1827. (Syn: Epipactis spiralis (L.) Crantz; Gyrostachys autumnalis (Balb.) Dumort.; Gyrostachys spiralis (L.) Kuntze; Ibidium spirale (L.) Salisb.; Neottia autumnalis (Balb.) Steud.; Neottia autumnalis (Balb.) Pers.; Neottia spiralis (L.) Sw.; Ophrys autumnalis Balb.; Ophrys spiralis L.; Serapias spiralis (L.) Scop.; Spiranthes autumnalis (Balb.) Rich. …..; Spiranthes glauca Raf.; Tussacia autumnalis (Balb.) Desv.);

One of our recent studies has shown that Spiranthes sinensis can be both glabrous or hairy.
It is interesting that when my friend did the dna studies, i think he could not find a true spiralis from this side. So pink flowers with or without hairs usually turned out to be sinensis.
As per efi thread:

In Flora of British India the species was described under the name Spiranthes australis (R. Br.) Lindl., A species name (rather combination) proposed in 1824, based on Neottia australis R. Br. (1810), a species supposed to have pubescent inflorescence spike (it is also supposed to have pubescent bracts and floral parts partly as I read from other sources).
Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames, is a name (rather combination) given in 1908, based on Neottia sinensis Pers. (1807), a species described from China and differing in glabrous spikes (and bracts and floral parts).
It has recently been considered by most authors (including Flora of China, Flora of Pakistan, etc.) that these two taxa are synonyms, and as basionym of latter is dated earlier, Spiranthes sinensis is accepted name.

It must be remembered that it is matter of taxonomic judgement (and not a simple issue of names), as the two species were originally described as distinct species (they have distinct types). For those who consider the differences are not enough would treat them under single species S. sinensis. Those who think (like original authors) that differences are sufficient, and are also trying to detect further differences to strengthen their distinct identity, would consider them as two separate species. I think … is just trying to do that, trying to settle the riddle, and he being a world renowned Orchid specialist is both qualified to do that. More so he owes the duty of resolving it for us. Let us appreciate that.

Spiranthes spiralis, commonly known as autumn lady’s-tresses, is a palearctic orchid which in Europe blooms 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 50 millimetres or 2.0 inches high) especially in short grazed grassland. In Western Europe it occurs most frequently in close cropped grassland overlying chalk or limestone.

Spiranthes is the Greek word for twisted, spiralis is Latin for twisted or spiral.Both refer to the inflorescence.
S. spiralis is a short tuberous perennial which reaches heights between 5 and 30 centimeters. The stem is stickily-hairy.The plant has two tubers as storage organs, rarely, one or three. From Autumn two new tubers are formed and the old tubers lowly die off. The shiny oval-elliptical foliage leaves form a basal rosette close to the ground and to one side of the flower-spike. There are from three to seven and they have a length of 1.5 to 3.5 cm and a width of 1 to 1.5 cm. The leaves are often withered by flowering time. The stem leaves are scale-like and overlapping;the bracts are shorter than the flowers.
The flowers are white, 6-7mm long. There are up to 20 borne in a slender spiral 3 to 12 cm long.The outer 2 sepals are spreading, the upper sepal and the petals fuse to form a tube with the lip. The lip has up-curved edges and is yellowish-green. The edge of the lip is notched and appears viewed up close as frayed.
Dry grassy places, meadows, garigue, heaths, pine woodland, generally on calcareous soils.
The range of the species covers Europe, with the exception of the colder areas in the north, North Africa, Caucasus and North Iran eastwards to the Western Himalayas.[1] (Codes)[2]
(From Wikipedia on 4.8.14)

Orchids from Sikkim-Darjeeling Tour- Spiranthes for id from Pelling:: NS July 04 : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (6).
This terrestrial orchid was found on a wet slope near Pelling in Sikkim..
Please help to conclude the specific id of this Spiranthes

Yes many people consider this plant as Spiranthes sinensis but I believe this to be Spiranthes spiralis.
Spiranthes sinensis is supposed to be glabrous completely and S. spiralis has glandular or not glandular hairs on the inflorescence.

Thanks … perhaps I have to relook all the specimens I have got till today  from VOF trek, from Chakrata and from Gori Valley area.. but I had only seen pink colored, more numerous flowers.. which belong to S. australis
In that case, this is second Spiranthes species for me…
I will be very happy if go through these:
1. VOF
2. Chakrata
3. GV

Thanks, … Do you mean Spiranthes spiralis (Lour.) Makino [Illegitimate] or Spiranthes spiralis (L.) Chevall. ?

Good question sir!!!
Spiranthes spiralis (L.) Chevall.


Family: Orchidaceae
Date: May 2015
Place: Haripurdhar-Nohradhar route, Himachal Pradesh

Habit: Terrestrial Herb
Altitude: Around 2000 metres above sea level

This should be Spiranthes spiralis.
Thanks a lot for sharing.

Spiranthes sp. for ID.enroute Chodwar – GHNP-PKA3 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (7).

Seen this Spiranthes sp. (Family: Orchidaceae) enroute Chodwar at “Great Himalayan National Park” (GHNP) at altitude of approx. 2900m on a grassy meadow..
Bot. name: Spiranthes sp ?? (ID Pl.)
Date/Time: 25-09-2014 / 01:00PM

Yes interesting Spiranthes! The spike is very twisted.

Spiranthes sinensis

This is not sinensis. Very typically hairy, sinensis is glabrous.

I remember … indicating that this could be Spiranthes spiralis…..


Spiranthes chinensis ABAUG01/03 : 7 posts by 3 authors. 3 images.
Another beautiful orchid from my walk. Could this be Spiranthes chinensis? Please advise.

Spiranthes shininess—Chinese Lady’s Tresses
On Mcleodganj-Triund trek, HP
2500m approx.
31 July 2016

There is no species called chinensis and this is not Spiranthes sinensis either.
The plant has hairy inflorescence and hence it could be Spiranthes spiralis.

Thank you … I realised that I had made a mistake in the binomial. It should have been Spiranthes sinensis. My computer also substituted shininess for sinensis. My apologies!
My sample could also be S. australis. I found only one specimen and didn’t want to disturb it for a closer look, hence the lack of details.

Spiranthes spiralis is reported from western Himalaya.

Thank you once again. Doesn’t S. spiralis have white flowers?

Both have white and pink colour forms. That’s the reason for so much of confusion. We have Spiranthes hongkongensis here in HK. Which should fall under one of spiralis or australis too.
Attached here. Attachments (3)


Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames : 19 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (8)
Sharing some pictures of Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames shot at Nagarkot Nepal on 9 September 2016 at 6700ft.

Spiranthes sinensis is supposed to be glabrous completely and S. spiralis has glandular or not glandular hairs on the inflorescence. as per Orchids from Sikkim-Darjeeling Tour- Spiranthes for id from Pelling:: NS July 04

Yes this should be Spiranthes spiralis not sinensis.


There are lot of taxonomic changes since it was published in 2000.

There is still some confusion. First of all neither it is listed on eflora Nepal nor in the authentic book published by the Govt. of Nepal. And could not find pink flower anywhere in the web and book for S. spiralis.
Third, some experts from Nepal verified it to be S. sinensis.

This mistake has been there and will always be there till orchid experts in Nepal and India treat hairy and non-hairy ones under same name.
Up to you whom you wish to believe.
I have seen people writing books on orchids of Nepal putting same plant under three different names, and when I pointed them that it was a mistake they gave me some very rude and odd reply., so I can’t help.

I have some old pictures which I took in 3 August 2013.
Please verify which is this.
And one more thing I found only white S.spiralis in web but not the pink one.
Attachments (2)

Both of these are NOT sinensis.They can be Spiranthes spiralis. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Enclosing some other link and request for your opinion. Also, could you please send me some link showing pink flower of S.spiralis.

Yes sir. The one on flowersofindia.net is also Spiranthes spiralis.
Have cc this mail to … to change.

Thank you. And what about the other link I sent ?

Sir it has two pics. when you click closeup, the pic appears with hairis on flower, but the normal pic seems glabrous so I think it has two species.
Here is the glabrous one attached which we call Spiranthes sinensis.
Attachments (1)

In that case S. spiralis needs to be enlisted for Nepal ! Can you help me with data and details so that I can publish in the journal !
Only matter is I coukd not find the S.spiralis in pink colour in the web.

Colour doesnt matter sir.
Your pics are obviously spiralis and you can publish them. Orchids of Nepal is at office which I can check only on Monday. So you need to wait.

Thank you ! Would be grateful for your help if it could be established as a new species!

Sharing a link