Gymnadenia rhellicani

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Gymnadenia rhellicani
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Gymnadenia
G. rhellicani
Binomial name
Gymnadenia rhellicani
(Teppner & E. Klein) Teppner & E. Klein
  • Nigritella rhellicani Teppner & E. Klein
  • Nigritella nigra subsp. rhellicani (Teppner & E. Klein) H. Baumann, Künkele & R. Lorenz

Gymnadenia rhellicani (common name: dark vanilla orchid[2] or black vanilla orchid[3][4]) is a European species of orchid.


Gymnadenia rhellicani grows 5–22 centimetres (2.0–8.7 in) high, with a dense, globose to cylindrical inflorescence of red-brown to chocolate-brown flowers with a chocolate-like aroma.[5] Some plants, especially in the south of the species' range have noticeably paler flowers.[5]


Gymnadenia rhellicani grows in the Alps and Carpathians at elevations of 1,000–2,800 metres (3,300–9,200 ft).[1]


The species was described as a distinct species in 1990 by Herwig Teppner and Erich Klein, who noted that it was diploid and reproduced sexually, in contrast to the rest of the wider Gymnadenia nigra group, which is polyploid and apomictic.[5] At the time, all these taxa were in the genus Nigritella, but that was later subsumed into Gymnadenia. The specific epithet rhellicanus commemorates Johannes Rhellicanus, who made the earliest attributed description of the species in 1536.[5] Rhellicanus himself called the plant Christimanus (Latin: Christi manus 'Christ's hand').[6][7]: 222 


  1. ^ a b c Rankou, H. (2011). "Gymnadenia rhellicani". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T175979A7161210. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T175979A7161210.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ Perry, Julian (2014). Walking in Bulgaria's National Parks. Kendal, UK: Cicerone. p. 188.
  3. ^ "Nigritella rhellicani (Black Vanilla Orchid)". The Alpine Flora of Zermatt, Switzerland. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Gymnadenia rhellicani – Black Vanilla Orchid". First Nature. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Herwig Teppner & Erich Klein (1990). "Nigritella rhellicani spec. nova und N. nigra (L.) Rchb. f. s. str. (Orchidaceae - Orchideae)" (PDF). Phyton. 31 (1). Horn, Austria: 5–26.
  6. ^ "Nigritella rhellicani". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  7. ^ Ludwig, Walther (1983). "Die 'Stockhornias' Des Joannes Rhellicanus". Humanistica Lovaniensia (in German). 32. Leuven University Press: 218–24.

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