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Anacamptis coriophora - Bug Orchid

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

Anacamptis coriophora

This orchid has recently been moved from the genus Orchis to the genus Anacamptis.

Description

Bug Orchid plants can grow up to 60 cm in height with dense heads of deep wine-red flowers; they have dark red spots on the lips, which are much paler in the centre. The common name of this orchid apparently refers to the somewhat unpleasant smell of the flowers.

Distribution

Anacamptis coriophora occurs in the Balkans and throughout much of central and southern Europe. This orchid can be found in the Algarve (Portugal), Bulgaria, Greece, Russia, Romania, Germany and several other central European countries including Slovenia,

Some authorities recognise a subspecies Anacamptis coriophora subsp. fragrans, which is said to have a sweeter scent and to differ slightly in appearance.

Anacamptis coriophora - close up of flower spike

Above: Anacamptis coriophora in the Algarve, southern Portugal

Habitat

The Bug orchid grows in damp meadows and other fairly wet places in full sunshine. It is now rather rare and localised and is in serious decline due to habitat destruction.

Flowering times

Depending on location the flowering time ranges from early May to early July.

The specimen shown here was photographed in the foothills of the Rhodopi Mountains in Bulgaria in mid June.

Etymology

The genus name Anacamptis comes from the Greek anakampto, meaning 'bent back'; it refers to the shape of the flower spur. The specific epithet coriophora also comes from Classical Greek and means 'carrying bugs' - a reference to the rather unpleasant odour of this otherwise very attractive orchid.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2014) Wild Orchids of the Algarve; First Nature

Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock (2014) Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve; Kew Publishing

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black

Acknowledgements

This page includes a picture kindly contributed by Anne Horsfall.


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