Orchis laxiflora

Lax-flowered orchid; Orchis ŕ fleurs lâches; Lockerblütiges Knabenkraut

Across much of Europe from the north-west southwards to N Africa and eastwards to Afghanistan.

Divisible into two or more subspecies or variants. The type subspecies is a tall orchid with loose spikes of flowers of various tones of purple-pink, found mainly in S and SW Europe growing in damp fields and reaching about 120 cm in height.

O. laxiflora subsp. palustris :- Orchis des Marais; Sumpfknabenkraut; Mose-gřgeurt

(includes subsp. elegans)

This subspecies is found in the northern and western parts of the range of the species, as far north as Gotland in southern Sweden, and extends eastwards across central Europe, (in the Swiss Alps up to 1150 m altitude) to Turkey, Russia and the Caucasus, and beyond as far as Afghanistan. In N Africa (Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco). Rare in the Mediterranean region.

Top photograph: Turkey, 1997.
© Alan Hill.

This subspecies has a less loose appearance to the flower spike than subsp. laxiflora, and a deeply 3-lobed lip.

Lower photographs: Hungary, 1993.
(midddle) © Paul Hackney:
(bottom) © Alan Hill.

Click photographs for larger images

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2004