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leafless beak ladiestresses, scarlet ladies' tresses

hoary beak orchid

Habit Plants 23–60 cm. Herbs, terrestrial or lithophytic, 30–60(–75) cm.

sheaths 5–9, cauline, bladeless.



petiole not distinct;

blade elliptic, 5–25(–35) × 2–8 cm.

absent at flowering time, 2–8, short-petiolate;

blade elliptic to broadly lanceolate, 30 × 5 cm, apex acute to obtuse.


3–18 cm;

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

floral bracts lanceolate.

8–18 cm;

rachis scurfy with white dots;

floral bracts red, lanceolate, 15–25 mm, exceeding ovary, scurfy.


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.

brick red, 15–50;

dorsal sepal 15–18 × 5 mm;

lateral sepals 24 × 3.5 mm, connate for 5–7 mm over basal portion of mentum, distinct portion of mentum 15–18 mm, about 2/3 length of ovary;

petals 18–24 × 3–6 mm;

lip brick red to pale red, 20–24 × 6 mm;

column 11 mm from attachment of dorsal sepal to tip, foot extending back 11–12 mm;

pollinaria 4–5 mm, viscidia 3–3.5 mm; pedicellate ovary 10–13 mm;

rostellum 4–5 mm.


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

10–13 × 7 cm, scurfy.


0.5–1.4 mm.

largely monoembryonic.

Sacoila lanceolata

Sacoila squamulosa

Phenology Flowering Apr–May.
Habitat Open or wooded, dry–moist including poorly drained pinelands on calcareous substrates
Elevation 0–30 m (0–100 ft)
from FNA
FL; Mexico; Central America; West Indies; n South America
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
FL; Mexico; Central America; West Indies; n 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.)

Sacoila squamulosa is widespread in tropical and subtropical America. Although often overlooked in Florida, it was included in the range of Stenorrhynchos squamulosum (M. Nir 2000), and details were given for its inclusion in the Florida flora (P. M. Brown 2000b). That resulted in determining that a large stand of nonconforming Sacoila in Marion County was indeed this species. It is a tall and handsome plant that, upon close examination, has the unmistakable scurfy or hoary dots instead of the short pubescence of Sacoila lanceolata. This is one of the most recent additions to the orchid flora of Florida and the United States. Plants have been either overlooked or not well distinguished from the more common S. lanceolata var. lanceolata. Knowledge of the range in Florida is incomplete, pending further study.

(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
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 528. FNA vol. 26, p. 529.
Parent taxa Orchidaceae > subfam. Orchidoideae > tribe Cranichideae > subtribe Spiranthinae > Sacoila Orchidaceae > subfam. Orchidoideae > tribe Cranichideae > subtribe Spiranthinae > Sacoila
Sibling taxa
S. squamulosa
S. lanceolata
Subordinate taxa
S. lanceolata var. lanceolata, S. lanceolata var. paludicola
Synonyms Limodorum lanceolatum, Satyrium lanceolata, Spiranthes lanceolata Neottia squamulosa, S. lanceolata var. squamulosa, Spiranthes squamulosa, Stenorrhynchos squamulosum
Name authority (Aublet) Garay: Bot. Mus. Leafl. 28: 352. (1982) (Kunth) Garay: Bot. Mus. Leafl. 28: 352. (1982)
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