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 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" />
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" />
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.
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.
- Anacamptis morio subsp. caucasica
- Anacamptis morio subsp. champagneuxii
- Anacamptis morio subsp. longicornu (syn: Anacamptis longicornu) — western Mediterranean region.
- Anacamptis morio subsp. morio
- Anacamptis morio subsp. picta
- Anacamptis morio subsp. syriaca
- Template:Eol Images. Habitats, habitus etc. and images of Anacamptis morio subsp. morio Anacamptis morio subsp. longicornu, Anacamptis morio subsp. picta, Anacamptis morio subsp. syriaca
- Den virtuella floran - Distribution
- Swiss Orchid Foundation
- BSBI Species Account - Anacamptis morio
- Plantlife - Green-winged orchid
- The Royal Society - The effects of nectar addition on pollen removal and geitonogamy in the non-rewarding orchid