Lady's Trussesotanical: Spiranthes autumnalis (ORICH.)
Family: N.O. Spiranthideoe Part Used: Tuberous root.
Habitat: Dry, hilly fields all over Europe - towards the Caucasus.
(Lady's Tresses grow on the Sussex downs near Amberley. - EDITOR.)
Description: This orchis takes its name from speira (a 'spiral') and anthos (a flower), inallusion to the spiral arrangement of the flowers. Rootstock produces every season two or three oblong tubers and a tuft of spreading, radical, ovate leaves about 1 inch long, a flowering stem 6 or 8 inches high by the side of the tuft of leaves. Blooms in autumn, flowers a greenishwhite, smelling like almonds, in a close spinal spike about 2 inches long, diverging horizontally to one side - with the bracts erect on opposite side, in appearance not unlike lilies of the valley.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Formerly used as an aphrodisiac.
A tincture of the root is used in homeopathy for skin affections, painful breasts, pain in the kidneys and eye complaints.