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Spiranthes spiralis.
Spiranthe d'automne.
Autumn lady's tresses.

It's all in the name! The orchid flowers in autumn (end of August to be exact...) and its inflorescence describes a spiral. It is both rare and not very visible. 

Orchid enthusiasts are less active in prospecting at the end of August, and it passes outside the usual observation periods. Often, moreover, it flowers without warning : no heralding leaves, the stem emerges, the orchid flowers then disappears in no more than twenty days (lived). Discovering it is sometimes a matter of chance or thanks to une transmission between initiates.

In principle, the leaves are visible (but you have to notice them) before flowering. 

The genus Spiranthes is widespread in the world and in both hemispheres, which is unusual among orchids (apart from inter-tropical species, of course).

Spiranthes spiralis and its "cousin" Spiranthes aestivalis are European and they will be found in France rather in the south but its presence is proven in many departments although rare. Spiranthes aestivalis likes more humid soils than Spiranthes spiralis which prefers cool or dry calcareous soils. Morphologically, differentiating them will also be extremely complicated.

Of variable size (between 5 and 30 cm), it will be found on short grass land and thus will be visible despite its small size for an attentive observer. -136bad5cf58d_

Click on the photos to enlarge

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