Syn.: Orchis longicruris Link, Orchis undulatifolia Biv.
Family: Orchidaceae Juss.

Orchis italica

Distribution: Mediterranean species – from Portugal and Morocco to Lebanon.

Ecology:: It grows on meadows and pastures, in scrub and forest margins, up to an elevation of 1300 m. Blooms from March to May.

Orchis italica

Description: Perennial herb with ovoid or ellipsoid tubers, 20–50 cm tall. Stem erect or flexuous, with 5–8 leaves in basal rosette, leaves lanceolate, up to 13 cm long and 2.8 cm wide. Spike conical to globose or ovoid, 60–100-flowered, dense; bracts membranous, ovate; perianth-segments lanceolate, acuminate, galea pale pink-lilac with purple veins, labellum 12–16 mm, longer than wide, pink, often with purple spots, 3-lobed, lateral lobes linear, middle lobe divided into 2 acute, elongate-linear lobules, with short, narrowly linear laciniae between, all segments more or less flat, spur cylindrical, to 8 mm long, directed downwards. The fruit is a capsule.

Threat and protection: This species – like all species of the family Orchidaceae – is included in the list of species protected by CITES.

Orchis italicaOrchis italica
Orchis italica

These images were taken in Italy, Gargano, Valle Carbonara (April 20, 2008).