Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae
Widespread and common throughout the region this one of the best known Mediterranean orchids.
The Naked Man Orchid grows up to 50cm in height and has a rosette of distinctive wavy-margined leaves at the base of the plant. The leaves are sometimes flecked with brown. There are a further 3 or 4 small leaves sheathing the stem. The flowers are carried in a dense inflorescence and are usually pale to dark pink.
From time to time pure white specimens occur but they are rare.
Common throughout the Mediterranean region this orchid grows in localised but often dense colonies. It can be found in the Middle East, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, the Aegean islands, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
This orchid grows in abandoned farmland, scrubby areas and beside tracks and paths and is particularly numerous close to the coasts.
April and May.
The genus name Orchis means 'testacles', a reference to the twin tubers of orchids in this genus. The specific epithet italica means 'Italian' and refers to the fact that this orchid species was first formally described from Italy.
The Plant List
Sue Parker (2023) Wild Orchids of the Algarve - where, when and how to find them; First Nature e-book (Amazon Kindle format)
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
Fielding, Turland and Mathew (2005) Flowers of Crete; Kew
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