Orchis militaris

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Orchis militaris Poir. is a synonym of Orchis italica.
Military orchid
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Orchis
Species: O. militaris
Binomial name
Orchis militaris
L.
Synonyms

Orchis militaris, the military orchid, is a species of orchid native to Europe. It is the type species of the genus Orchis.

Description[edit]

This plant grows to a height of 20 to 50 cm with a robust stem with rather drawn up oblong basal leaves. The inflorescence forms a purplish dense cone consisting of from 10 to 40 flowers. In each flower the sepals and side petals are gathered together to form a pointed "helmet" (whence it gets its name), a lilac colour outside and a veined purple colour inside. The central tongue finishes in two lobes separated by a tooth.

Flowering period[edit]

Depending on location, April to June.

Habitat[edit]

Likes full light on a dry calcareous substrate. For example unfertilized lawns, meadows, edges and light woods up to 2000m in altitude.

Distribution[edit]

It is well distributed around Europe, reaching as far north as southern Sweden, but rather rare in the Mediterranean areas.

It is extremely rare in Britain and a protected species, occurring only at the Rex Graham nature reserve in Suffolk and the Buckinghamshire Chilterns.

Uses[edit]

Orchis militaris contains the nutritious polysaccharide glucomannan, and is one of the original species of orchid whose ground-up roots are used to make the drink salep.

References[edit]

External links[edit]