1. Family: Orchidaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Orchis Tourn. ex L.
      1. Orchis pallens L.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Europe to Caucasus.

    [O-EM]
    General Description

    Orchis pallens is a geophyte that has two ovoid to ellipsoidal tubers at flowering time, each belongs to a different vegetation cycle; the old tuber, from which the present plant has developed and a new tuber to support the shoots and new plant of the coming year.
    The rosette leaves are lanceolate, yellow-green, slightly succulent and are 15-40 mm wide and to llcrn long; 1 or 2 further leaves vaginate the lower stalk. The oval to cylindrical flower spike consist ofloosely and densely arranged large flowers. The whole plant reaches 20-40 cm in height. The lateral sepals stretch out wing-like and bend backwards when the flowers are fully open. The petals are a little shorter and the tips incline together along with the top sepal, to form a helmet above the column. The bracts that are approximately as long as the ovary, are a pale-yellow to a greenish-yellow. The weakly three-lobed, slightly convex lip is totally lacking any drawing, but is a little brighter than the sepals and petals; the velvety appearance is due to minute hairs on its surface.

    Threats

    In its rather vast range, the species could be described nowhere as really common, although there are many local dense populations. However, as a rule, it consists of small populations with fewer than 100 specimens. The threats are valued differently; from a global point of view, the danger is probably only low. However, in Central Europe, declines are rapidly taking place, as the former coppicing of woods on which the species depends, has more or less ceased.

    Ecology

    The species prefers limestone in Central Europe; its locations here are on lower limestone, more seldom on middle limestone and only isolated colonies on old red sandstone, zechstein or keuper. Subsoil with a pH value between 6.7 and 7.0 (Sundermann 1980) are also required in other parts of the distribution area. In particular, fairly dry meadows, scrubland and bright pinewoods are settled however, the fringes of some deciduous forests consisting of beech, oak or horn beam are also inhabited; in the high mountains, the species grows primarily in alpine meadows. Meinunger (1992) pointed out that Orchis pallens appears in areas of high precipitation in low mountain ranges, mainly on southern slopes and most often in meadows, while in drier areas it mainly settles in woods. Especially large populations occur in coppiced woods rich in ash; several hundred flowering plants have been counted in small colonies, nevertheless from year to year substantial variations are noticeable. Lack of rain, late frosts and damage by wild animals such as badgers and wild boar, can decimate populations; during such unfavourable years, complete failure of the blossom may occur. The natural succession of woodland leads to a decrease in the amount of light reaching the forest floor, this in turn reduces the number of vital and blossoming plants.

    Biology

    Flowering time is from the middle of April to the end of May. In the evening and at night the flowers a said to smell very unpleasant, just like elder-flowers or tomcat's urine; however, Bogenhard (1850: 35 described it as a "lilac-like fragrance"! It offers no nectar to visiting insects, but mimics plants that do carry nectar. After Vöth (1982: 99) it is pollinated by various bumblebee species (Bombus agrorum, B. pratorum and B. terrestris) that normally collect nectar from Lathyrus vernus (perennial sweet pea). As this source dries up, the Orchis growing nearby will be visited by these pollinators in their search for further nectar. The percentage of flowers setting seed was observed at between 59% (Künkele & Baumann 1998: 393) a1 13% (Vöth 1982: 202). The frequency of a successful germination is, according to Künkele & Baumann (1998: 394), clearly higher with the blossoms in the lower third of the flower spike.
    Hybrids are known with Orchis mascula (also with ssp. speciosa), Orchis provincialis and Orchis spitzelii.

    Distribution

    The species has a sub-Mediterranean to sub-oceanic distribution. The very scattered distribution area reaches from the north of Spain via the south of France to Central Germany and further north to southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the Balkans to southern Greece and Romania. It can also be found in the Crimea, the Caucasus and Turkey. An altitude limit is reached at 2,400 m.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Corse, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Krym, North Caucasus, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Ukraine, Yugoslavia

    Orchis pallens L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Sladen, W.J.L. [90], Yugoslavia 23897.000
    Wood, J.J. [186], Greece 35772.047
    Wood, J.J. [343], Italy 39484.000
    Barneby, T., France 28726.000
    Barneby, T., France 29145.000
    Salisbury [s.n.] K000364213
    s.coll. [s.n.] K000364102
    Jacquin, N.N.J.von [s.n.], Austria K000364103

    First published in Mant. Pl. 2: 292 (1771)

    Accepted by

    • Dimopoulos, P., Raus, T., Bergmeier, E., Constantinidis, T., Iatrou, G., Kokkini, S., Strid, A., & Tzanoudakis, D. (2013). Vascular plants of Greece. An annotated checklist: 1-372. Botanic gardens and botanical museum Berlin-Dahlem, Berlin and Hellenic botanical society, Athens.
    • G.I.R.O.S. (2009). Orchidee d'Italia: 1-303. Il Castello srl, Italy.
    • Kretzschmar, H. ,Eccarius, W. & Dietrich, H. (2007). The Orchid Genera Anacamptis, Orchis and Neotinea. Phylogeny, taxonomy, morphology, biology, distribution, ecology and hybridisation, ed. 2: 1-544. EchinoMedia verlag, Bürgel.
    • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006). Conspectus Florae Caucasi 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
    • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2005). Flora Iberica 21: 1-366. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
    • Galán Cela, P. & Gamarra, R. (2003). Check List of the Iberian and Balearic Orchids 2 Anales del Jardin Botanico de Madrid 60: 309-329.
    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Kretzschmar, H. ,Eccarius, W. & Dietrich, H. (2007). The Orchid Genera Anacamptis, Orchis and Neotinea. Phylogeny, taxonomy, morphology, biology, distribution, ecology and hybridisation, ed. 2: 1-544. EchinoMedia verlag, Bürgel.

    Sources

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Orchideae: e-monocot.org
    All Rights Reserved