Western states between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean
Moist, open locations; sea level to 11,000 feet
Narrowly lanceolate, alternate, up to 10 inches long; curving. Mostly around the base
The elongated clusters of small, complex, bilaterally symmetric flowers help identify spiranthes romanzoffiana as a member of the orchid family. This species frequents moist locations over a wide range of elevations, from coastal areas to high mountains, often partly concealed by long grass, and reaches heights of 2 feet.
The hairless, all-white (occasionally pale yellow) flowers form in rows (usually four), which spiral around the stem; each flowerhead is composed of two petals and three sepals which together form a hood, above a longer, narrower, downward-pointing lower petal. The outer edges of the petals have a fine fringe. Each row contains up to 15 flowers, extending for about 4 inches. Flowers have a distinct sweet smell, like vanilla.