Orchis simia

Monkey orchid; Orchis singe; Affen-Knabenkraut; Orchide scimmia

Around the Mediterranean and in Europe northwards to the south of England and the Netherlands; eastwards into western Asia.

This plant grows up to about 30cm tall; the sepals and lateral petals form a 'helmet'; the lip is lobed and rather similar to that of some other Orchis species such as O. italica or O. militaris. The 'legs' are longer than in O. militaris, are often bent forwards in a characteristic fashion, and of a darker hue than the rest of the labellum. Flower colour in general is variable. Occurring in poor grassland, scrub, open woodland etc, avoiding acidic soil.

Click photographs for larger images.

Photographs: Mugello North of Florence, Italy 2008
© Tony Chinnery.

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© National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, 2008