Anacamptis morio

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Anacamptis morio
Orchis morio a.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Anacamptis
A. morio
Binomial name
Anacamptis morio
  • 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.

The green-winged orchid (Anacamptis morio) is an orchid species with usually purple flowers found in Europe and the Middle East.


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. 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.

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. Plants grow to 40 cm in height.

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

Individual plants may flower for up to 17 years.[3]

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

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 unimproved grassy meadows, especially on limestone-rich soil. This species thrives where grass is cut once or twice a year after flowering is complete, or where it is grazed after flowering is complete.[3] Cutting or mowing should not take place immediately after flowering but give time for seed dispersal.

It can grow in dry or wet grazed meadows. It can also be found in coastal grasslands, quarries, churchyards, as well as on roadsides and lawns.[3] On the European continent it is also found in alpine pasture and in xerothermic grassland on porphyry outcrops.[3]

The maximum altitude for this species is somewhere between 1500 and 2000m.[4][5]

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


Pollination is by bees.[3][6]

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."[7]

Plants cannot establish without a mycorrhizal partner. This makes them vulnerable to chemicals, particularly fungicides, but also other chemical applications which could reduce the prevalence of particular species of fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi known to grow in association with the green-winged orchid include Epulhoriza repens and Moniliopsis solani.[3]


Anacamptis comes from the Greek ανακάμτειν "anakamptein" which according to different sources may mean to bend backward or to bend forward. The name morio is derived from the Greek word "moros" meaning "fool". This refers to the colourful, green striped flowers, after which its common name also derives.


This species conservation status is vulnerable and near threatened [8]

It is a protected species in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order of 1985.[9]

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.



As of May 2014, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts six subspecies:[10]


  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. ^ a b c d e f BSBI Species Account - Anacamptis morio
  4. ^ The Bulgarian Flora Online
  5. ^ Monaco Nature Encyclopedia
  6. ^ The Royal Society - The effects of nectar addition on pollen removal and geitonogamy in the non-rewarding orchid Anacamptis morio
  7. ^ Britannica Blog: The Deceptive Flowers of Orchids
  8. ^ Plantlife - Green-winged orchid
  9. ^ Orchis morio :: Flora of Northern Ireland web site
  10. ^ "Search for Anacamptis morio". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2014-05-17.

External links[edit]