Its range is widely distributed, being found from Texas to Florida, north to the Great Lakes. However, it is uncommon throughout most of its range, which has resulted in a patchy known distribution. Its natural habitat is in wet to mesic forests and woodlands.
It produces delicate white flowers in the fall. It can be distinguished from other Spiranthes in eastern North America by its small, tightly spiraled flowers, and the presence of basal leaves at flowering time.
Two varieties of Spiranthes ovalis are recognized. They are:
- S. ovalis var. erostellata - Flowers closed, self-pollinating; widespread across the eastern North America
- S. ovalis var. ovalis - Flowers open, cross-pollinating; restricted to the Southeastern Coastal Plain
- "Spiranthes ovalis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- "Spiranthes ovalis". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- Spiranthes ovalis North American Orchid Conservation Center
- Alan Weakley (2015). "Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States".
- Flora of North America, Spiranthes ovalis