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Anacamptis morio

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Anacamptis morio, the green-winged orchid or green-veined orchid (synonym Orchis morio), is a flowering plant of the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

The green-winged orchid (Anacamptis morio) is an orchid species with usually purple flowers found in Europe and the Middle East.

Description

It flowers from late April to June in the British Isles, and as early as February in other countries, such as France. The inflorescence is of various colours, mainly purple but ranging from white, through pink, to deep purple. From 5 to 25 helmet-shaped flowers grow in a loose, linear bunch at the top of the single stalk. A pair of lateral sepals with prominent green, occasionally purple veins extend laterally like "wings", giving the orchid its name. The broad, three lobed, lower petal is pale in the center with dark spots.

Leaves are lanceolate, or sometimes ovate, and grow in a rosette around the base of the plan, with some thinner leaves clasping the stem and sheathing almost up to the flowers. Leaves are green and unspotted. Plants grow to 40 cm in height.

It is similar in appearance to the early purple orchid Orchis mascula, which flowers around the same time of year, but Anacamptis morio has green stripes on the two lateral sepals, and lacks the spots or blotches of the Early Purple's leaves.

Individual plants may flower for up to 17 years.<ref name=":1" />

Distribution and Habitat

It is a native of western Eurasia, ranging from Europe to Iran. In the British Isles it is found in central-southern England, Wales and Ireland.

It grows in unimproved grassy meadows, especially on limestone-rich soil. This species thrives where grass is cut once or twice a year after flowering is complete, or where it is grazed after flowering is complete.<ref name=":1">BSBI Species Account - Anacamptis morio</ref> Cutting or mowing should not take place immediately after flowering but give time for seed dispersal.

It can grow in dry or wet grazed meadows. It can also be found in coastal grasslands, quarries, churchyards, as well as on roadsides and lawns.<ref name=":1" /> On the European continent it is also found in alpine pasture and in xerothermic grassland on porphyry outcrops.<ref name=":1" />

The maximum altitude for this species is somewhere between 1500 and 2000m.<ref>The Bulgarian Flora Online</ref><ref>Monaco Nature Encyclopedia</ref>

Green-winged orchid (A. morio) in bloom in meadow habitat

Ecology

Pollination is by bees.<ref name=":1" /><ref>The Royal Society - The effects of nectar addition on pollen removal and geitonogamy in the non-rewarding orchid Anacamptis morio</ref>

The flowers do not produce nectar, but can attract pollinators with their visual appearance. This nectar deception "facilitates the mixing of pollen between different individual plants, promotes genetic diversity in the species, and has been favored evolutionarily over nectar production."<ref>Britannica Blog: The Deceptive Flowers of Orchids</ref>

Plants cannot establish without a mycorrhizal partner. This makes them vulnerable to chemicals, particularly fungicides, but also other chemical applications which could reduce the prevalence of particular species of fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi known to grow in association with the green-winged orchid include Epulhoriza repens and Moniliopsis solani.<ref name=":1" />

Etymology

Anacamptis comes from the Greek ανακάμτειν "anakamptein" which according to different sources may mean to bend backward or to bend forward. The name morio is derived from the Greek word "moros" meaning "fool". This refers to the colourful, green striped flowers, after which its common name also derives.

Conservation

This species conservation status is vulnerable and near threatened <ref>Plantlife - Green-winged orchid</ref>

It is a protected species in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order of 1985.<ref>Orchis morio :: Flora of Northern Ireland web site</ref>

In 2001 Anacamptis morio was adopted as the logo for Priory Vale, the third and final instalment in Swindon's 'Northern Expansion' project. Due to a rapid decline in the species they are protected in certain cases, although still regarded as being quite common in the Swindon area, especially Clifford Meadow, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) off Thamesdown Drive, Swindon.

Flower

Subspecies

Template:As of, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts six subspecies:<ref name="WCSP_Anacamptis morio">Template:Cite web</ref>

References

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External links

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