From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gymnadenia densiflora
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
Subtribe: Orchidinae
Genus: Gymnadenia
  • Nigritella Rich.
  • × Gymnigritella E.G.Camus

Gymnadenia is a genus of flowering plants in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) containing 22 terrestrial species. The former genus Nigritella is now included in Gymnadenia.

They can be found in damp meadows, fens and marshes, and on chalk or limestone, often in alpine regions of Europe and Asia from Portugal to Kamchatka, including China, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia, the Himalayas, Iran, Ukraine, Germany, Scandinavia, Great Britain, etc.[2][3][4] The fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) has been introduced into the USA and is reportedly naturalized in Connecticut.[5]

These hardy terrestrial orchids are deciduous. They survive the winter through two deep-cut tubers. Long lanceolate green leaves grow at the bottom of the stem. There are some small leaves at the stop of the stem.

They flower during the summer. The inflorescence is a dense cylindrical spike between 5 and 30 cm long. It can consists of up to 150 small pleasant-smelling flowers. It is recently discovered that eugenol and isoeugenol, floral volatile scent compounds, are catalyzed by single type of enzyme in Gymnadenia species and gene encoding for this enzyme is first functionally characterized gene in this species so far.[6] Their color can vary from pale purple to pink and white. The lip is wide with three lobes. The marginal petals are horizontal. There is a long, thin, threadlike spur.

Several species were formerly classified under Nigritella. The nothogeneric name ×Gymnigritella was used for hybrids between these two groups.


Gymnadenia × heufleri
Gymnadenia rhellicani (syn. Nigritella rhellicani)

As of August 2023, Plants of the World Online accepted the following species and hybrids.[1] ([N] = formerly placed in Nigritella, [GN] = formerly placed in ×Gymnigritella.)


Further reading[edit]

  • Delforge, P. 1998. Contribution taxonomique et nomenclaturale au genre Gymnadenia (Orchidaceae). Nomenclatural and taxonomical contribution to the genus Gymnadenia (Orchidaceae). Nat. Belg. 79(4): 251–256.

In Literature[edit]

Gymnadenia is the title of a novel published in 1929 in Norwegian by Nobel Prize winning author Sigrid Undset.[13] The novel was translated into English by Arthur G. Chater and published in 1931 as The Wild Orchid.[14]



  1. ^ a b "Gymnadenia R.Br". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Flora of China, v 25 p 133, 手参属 shou shen shu, Gymnadenia R. Brown in W. T. Aiton, Hortus Kew., ed. 2. 5: 191. 1813.
  4. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Manina rosea, Fragrant Orchid, Gymnadenia conopsea (L.) R. Br.
  5. ^ Biota of North America Program, county distribution map
  6. ^ Alok K. Gupta; Ines Schauvinhold; Eran Pichersky; Florian P. Schiestl (2014). "Eugenol synthase genes in floral scent variation in Gymnadenia species" (PDF). Functional & Integrative Genomics. 14 (4): 779–788. doi:10.1007/s10142-014-0397-9. hdl:20.500.11850/91540. PMID 25239559. S2CID 17207240.
  7. ^ "Gymnadenia × chanousiana". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  8. ^ "Gymnadenia × delphineae". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  9. ^ "Gymnadenia × eggeriana". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  10. ^ "Gymnadenia × godferyana". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  11. ^ "Gymnadenia × truongiae". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  12. ^ "Gymnadenia × turnowskyi". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  13. ^ Undset, Sigrid (1929). Gymnadenia (in Norwegian). Oslo, Norway: Aschehoug.
  14. ^ Undset, Sigrid (1931). The Wild Orchid. Translated by Chater, Arthur G. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

External links[edit]