Limodorum abortivum - Violet Limodore/Violet Bird's-nest Orchid

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Violet Limodore plants in woodland

For such a tall orchid Violet Limodore blends in well with its surroundings making it hard to spot.

This elusive and bewitching orchid is a tall plant but is, nonetheless, challenging to find because it blends in so well with its surroundings.

The Violet Limodore is apparently saprophytic and is dependent throughout its life on mycorrhizal fungi.

For this reason, and because the stem is green and contains chlorophyll, it is unlikely to be parasitic. It is sometimes pollinated by insects, but Limodorum abortivum is also cleistogamous (pollination takes place inside the flower bud).

Side view of Violet Limodore flower

It is found in coniferous woodland, scrub, and grassy woodland clearings often on rocky terrain. The Violet Limodore is one of those orchids that can disappear for several years during periods of drought or if the vegetation surrounding it becomes too dense, and then it reappears when conditions become more favourable. This may make this orchid hard to find rather than rare.

In the western part of its geographical territory - in Portugal and in Estremadura - plants with shorter spurs and narrower lips are recorded. These plants are distinguished as var. trabutianum

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in the Algarve and the Lot Valley, southern France, in late May.


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