Phenology, Population Dynamics, and Flowering Dynamics of Case's Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes casei var. casei (Orchidaceae), in Ottawa, Ontario


  • Joyce M. Reddoch 548 Rivershore Crescent, Gloucester, Ontario K1J 7Y7
  • Allan H. Reddoch 548 Rivershore Crescent, Gloucester, Ontario K1J 7Y7



Case's Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes casei, Brown-lipped Snail, Cepaea nemoralis, Banded Wood Snail, Stethobaris ovata, White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, flowering dynamics, gastropod, herbivory, long-term study, population dynamics, Ontario


We describe a seven-year study (2002–2008) of a population of Case’s Ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes casei var. casei) in the western Greenbelt in Ottawa, Ontario, that had been extant since at least 1972. We also record a temporary colonization in the eastern Greenbelt for 11 years (1998–2008). The seven life history stages identified were seed, juvenile, immature, flowering, vegetative, offshoot (ramet), and non-emergent. Mature plants present in the first two years of the study had mean half lives of 9.4 years. Flowering and seed production were limited by damp, cloudy weather when fall rosettes develop, by gastropod herbivory in early summer, by drought in mid-summer, and by deer herbivory in late summer. Given the resulting wide fluctuations in the fractions of plants flowering, as well as the lack of visibility of vegetative plants, this study demonstrates the limitations of annual censuses of flowering stems for determining the actual sizes of populations and for detecting long-term population trends.