Anacamptis morio

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Anacamptis morio
Orchis morio a.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Anacamptis
Species: A. morio
Binomial name
Anacamptis morio
(L.) R.M.Bateman, Pridgeon & M.W.Chase[1]
  • Orchis morio L.
  • Herorchis morio (L.) D.Tyteca & E.Klein

Anacamptis morio, the green-winged orchid or green-veined orchid (synonym Orchis morio), is a flowering plant of the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

Green-winged orchid (A. morio) in bloom in meadow habitat

It is a native of western Eurasia, ranging from Europe to Iran. In the British Isles it is found in central-southern England, Wales and Ireland. It grows in grassy meadows, especially on limestone-rich soil, reaching a height of 40 cm.

It flowers from late April to June in the British Isles, and as early as February in other countries, such as France. The inflorescence is of various colours, mainly purple but ranging from white, through pink, to deep purple. From 5 to 25 helmet-shaped flowers grow in a loose, linear bunch at the top of the single stalk. The name morio is derived from the Greek word "moros" meaning "fool". This refers to the colorful, green striped flowers. A pair of lateral sepals with prominent green, occasionally purple veins extend laterally like "wings", giving the orchid its name. The broad, three lobed, lower petal is pale in the center with dark spots.

The flowers do not produce nectar, but can attract pollinators with their visual appearance. This nectar deception "facilitates the mixing of pollen between different individual plants, promotes genetic diversity in the species, and has been favored evolutionarily over nectar production."[3]

Leaves are lanceolate, or sometimes ovate, and grow in a rosette around the base of the plan, with some thinner leaves clasping the stem and sheathing almost up to the flowers. Leaves are green and unspotted.

It is similar in appearance to the early purple orchid, Orchis mascula, but has green stripes on the two lateral sepals, and lacks the spots or blotches of the Early Purple's leaves.


As of May 2014, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts six subspecies:[4]

British Isles[edit]

It is a protected species in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order of 1985.[5]

In 2001 Anacamptis morio was adopted as the logo for Priory Vale, the third and final instalment in Swindon's 'Northern Expansion' project. Due to a rapid decline in the species they are protected in certain cases, although still regarded as being quite common in the Swindon area, especially Clifford Meadow, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) off Thamesdown Drive, Swindon.



  1. ^ R. M. Bateman; A. M. Pridgeon; M. W. Chase (1997). "Phylogenetics of subtribe Orchidinae (Orchidoideae, Orchidaceae) based on nuclear its sequences. 2. Infrageneric relationships and reclassification to achieve monophyly of Orchis sensu stricto". Lindleyana. 12: 113–141. 
  2. ^ "Anacamptis morio". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  3. ^ Britannica Blog: The Deceptive Flowers of Orchids
  4. ^ "Search for Anacamptis morio". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  5. ^ Orchis morio :: Flora of Northern Ireland web site

External links[edit]