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Green-winged Orchid

Green-winged orchidThe Green-winged Orchid or Green-veined Orchid (Anacamptis morio) is a flowering plant of the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

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 grassy meadows, especially on limestone rich soil, reaching a height of 40 cm.

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. The name morio is derived from the Greek word "moros" meanimng "fool". This refers to the colorful, green striped flowers. 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. Each flower has a long spur at the back which holds nectar to attract insects to pollinate the bloom.

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.

It is similar in appearance to the Early Purple-Orchid, but has green stripes on the two lateral sepals, and lacks the spots or blotches of the Early Purple's leaves.

Text courtesy of Wikipedia

Photographs © Matthew Marshall