Spiranthes aestivalis (Poir.) Rich. - Summer lady's tresses
This delicate orchid is 10-30 cm high. It has got light green linear lanceolate convolute basal leaves, shorter than the stems. The latter have got smaller and smaller leaves which do not produce any inflorescence. The characterizing small white flowers (7-8 mm) are horizontal and spiral and emanate a delicate perfume, especially in the evening.
The species needs from slightly acid to neutral wet habitats, open and poor in nourishing substances. It is present in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Europe, from England to Greece and the Near East, from the sea level to 1200-1400 metres of altitude.
The species is typical of the alkaline fen association (association Caricion davallianae) and in particular of the association Orchio-Schoenetum in the hills and in the mountains and of the association Erucastro-Schoenetum on the plain lowland of Friuli. Sometimes it can be also found in the resurgence area or near a brook. The species is endangered in its areas for the habitat destruction, euthrophication, water table subsidence and the lack of habitat management.
In Friuli the species was well represented a few decades ago especially in the resurgence area and in the morainic amphitheater of the Tagliamento river, but the recent water table falling and the lack of mowing in the alkaline fens have endangered the species in all the regional territory.
Iconografia delle Orchidee d'Italia
W. Rossi, A. Eldredge Maury (tavole) - 2002
Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio
Ist. Naz. per la Fauna Selvatica "A. Ghigi"