The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links

leafless beak ladiestresses, scarlet ladies' tresses

Habit Plants 23–60 cm. Herbs, terrestrial.

fascicled, fleshy.


sheaths 5–9, cauline, bladeless.

with abbreviated rhizome.



petiole not distinct;

blade elliptic, 5–25(–35) × 2–8 cm.

several, in basal rosette;

blade oblong-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic.


3–18 cm;

rachis pubescent with bubble-shaped, glandular-capitate, and transitional hairs;

floral bracts lanceolate.

densely flowered racemes.


usually orange-red, occasionally pale green or golden bronze;

dorsal sepal free, lanceolate, ascending at apex;

lateral sepals basally connate, lanceolate, decurrent along lateral ribs of ovary;

petals lanceolate, falcate, slightly decurrent basally;

lip lanceolate, base sessile, grooved, apex acute to acuminate, with linear, nearly marginal, pubescent calli near base;

anther cap 6–7 mm.

resupinate, with prominent, free-tipped mentum formed by backwardly extended column foot, lip, and lateral sepals;

anther abaxial;

pollinarium with linear viscidium;

pollinia 2 pairs, pale yellow, soft, mealy;

stigma nearly perpendicular to viscidium and rostellum;

rostellum linear-needlelike, sharp-pointed, rigid.


capsules, erect, ovoid.


ascending, ovoid, expanded portion 9–16 × 6–10 mm.


0.5–1.4 mm.

Sacoila lanceolata


from FNA
FL; Mexico; Central America; West Indies; n South America
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Tropical and subtropical regions; mostly South America
[BONAP county map]

Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).

In Florida the two varieties differ in their breeding systems, Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata producing seed by adventitious embryony and var. paludicola by auto-pollination (P. M. Catling 1987). Plants of this species from Florida, referred to Spiranthes lanceolata var. luteoalba (Reichenbach) Luer (C. A. Luer 1972), represent only a very restricted clone with more ascending flowers whose characters intergrade with those of plants from other parts of the range. Because all green-flowered plants addressed by Luer do not consistently possess the distinctive features he noted and do not conform to the description of var. luteoalba (Reichenbach f.) Luer, they are best recognized at the rank of forma as forma albidaviridis Catling & Sheviak (P. M. Catling and C. J. Sheviak 1993).

Sacoila lanceolata is widespread in tropical and subtropical America. Synonyms for Sacoila lanceolata in the restricted sense are given by L. A. Garay (1980[1982]) and in the very broad sense by C. A. Luer (1972). Two color forms associated with var. lanceolata have been named: forma albidaviridis Catling & Sheviak, with green and white flowers, and forma folsomii P. M. Brown with golden bronze flowers.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Species ca. 10 (2 in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Dorsal sepal 19–23 mm; leaves usually absent at flowering.
var. lanceolata
1. Dorsal sepal 9–11 mm; leaves present at flowering.
var. paludicola
1. Rachis pubescent with bubble-shaped, glandular-capitate, and transitional hairs.
S. lanceolata
1. Rachis scurfy, with white dots.
S. squamulosa
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 528. FNA vol. 26, p. 528.
Parent taxa Orchidaceae > subfam. Orchidoideae > tribe Cranichideae > subtribe Spiranthinae > Sacoila Orchidaceae > subfam. Orchidoideae > tribe Cranichideae > subtribe Spiranthinae
Sibling taxa
S. squamulosa
Subordinate taxa
S. lanceolata var. lanceolata, S. lanceolata var. paludicola
S. lanceolata, S. squamulosa
Synonyms Limodorum lanceolatum, Satyrium lanceolata, Spiranthes lanceolata
Name authority (Aublet) Garay: Bot. Mus. Leafl. 28: 352. (1982) Rafinesque: Fl. Tellur. 4: 86. (1838)
Web links