This member of the Anacamptis morio (Green-winged Orchid) group of orchids occurs in the western Mediterranean region. It is most commonly found in the Iberian Peninsula, but its territory extends northwards as far as southern France.
At first glance it is very similar to the Green-winged Orchid and has the same green-veined 'hood' formed by the sepals, but on closer inspection there are several important differences: the overall plant is rather spindly in appearance, the flower head is lax and with fewer individual flowers than are usually found on Green-winged Orchid specimens. It is, however, the lip that is very different; it is longitudinally folded, and although flushed with pink-purple on the outside, the centre is completely white overall with hardly any discernible markings.
Orchids of the Anacamptis morio group are in steep decline in their traditional strongholds of old, unimproved meadows due to the excessive use of herbicides by the farming industry. In the Mediterranean region where traditional farming methods are still used, it is possible to find large numbers of Green-winged orchids and their close relatives, the Champagne Orchid and the Long-spurred Orchid, Anacamptis longicornu.
This specimen was photographed in the Algarve in Portugal in April.