1. Family: Orchidaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Orchis Tourn. ex L.
      1. Orchis provincialis Balb. ex Lam. & DC.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Central & S. Europe to W. Caucasus.


    The flowering period lasts according to altitude and season, within a region, from the end of March to the beginning of June. Although the spur produces no nectar, the species is visited and pollinated by various hymenoptera. It is allogamous, this is confirmed by a relatively low percentage of flowers setting seed and the existence of hybrids with Orchis mascula, including ssp. ichnusae and speciosa, Orchis pallens, Orchis patens, Orchis pauciflora, Orchis anatolica, Orchis quadripunctata, Orchis sitiaca and Orchis spitzelii.


    It has a remarkably vast distribution from the Iberian Peninsula througout the western and central part of the Mediterranean region to the mountains around the eastern parts of the Black Sea. Due to its special demand on acid subsoil, its populations appear rather local.


    Orchis provincialis is found in bright deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as thorn shrub biotopes of macchia or phrygana at altitudes of a few metres above sea level, more rarely it can also be found in mountain pastures up to 1,700 m. This species requires acid subsoil from various sources, such as sandstone or primary rocks. Calcareous (and therefore primary alkaline) soils are acceptable if they weather to acid reacting subsoil, as happens in Crete over serpentine or in Rhodes over dolomite.

    General Description

    Orchis provincialis is a geophyte that has two ovoid to ellipsoidal tubers at flowering time.
    The rosette at the base of the stalk consists of 3 to 7 green, quite strong leaves, they are between 5 and 15 cm long and 1.3 to 2 cm wide and are covered with numerous dark spots. The lower stalk is vaginated by 2 to 3 further leaves.
    The inflorescence is quite loose and consists of 5 to 15 blossoms, rarely more. The flowers stem from the angle of the membranous yellowish- green bracts that are approximately as long as the ovary. The lateral sepals are vertically erect and to the rear of the flowers, they often show a "wave-like" outline (Pict. 337/4). Both petals form a small helmet, over which the top sepal inclines. The lip is faintly three-lobed, the central lobe is again divided into two, and the side lobes bend downwards to the sides. The central lobe bends forewords and downwards at an angle of about 60 degrees which gives it, as seen from the side, the typical appearance of a "sheep's nose". The basic colour of the flower is pale yellow, however, the central lobe of the lip, as a rule, is a little more intensely coloured than other parts of the flower, and in addition, it is covered by numerous fine red to red-brown spots. The pollinaria are of a brownish to reddish colour.
    The spur, which bends upwards, is approximately as long as the ovary. It is 12 to 19 mm long, the tip is blunt; some authors have mentioned an indistinct club-shaped thickening of the spur at its tip, however, this is not typical and rarely seen.


    At present, a direct threat of the species is not recognizable. In numerous locations, static and stable populations have developed, this does not exclude the species being endangered locally. The reasons for the threat of individual populations are variable, apart from natural fluctuations , human influence is, of course important. If its biotopes are impaired by drastic changes of the management of use, or if they are totally destroyed, Orchis provincialis will be extinct, there. The building of new roads and other developments to the infrastructure, such as the expansion of towns, endangers the smaller local populations.



    Native to:

    Albania, Bulgaria, Corse, East Aegean Is., France, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Krym, North Caucasus, Portugal, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Yugoslavia

    Orchis provincialis Balb. ex Lam. & DC. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Greece 20430.000
    Italy 20432.000
    Italy 245.000
    Sands, M.J.S., Greece 45188.000
    Watson, J.M. [53], Italy 3003.000
    Wood, J.J. [232], Italy 29047.227
    Wood, J.J. [189], Greece 38258.000
    Wood, J.J. [232], Italy 38929.000
    Wood, J.J. [289], Greece 39424.000
    Wood, J.J. [429], Italy 43511.000
    Wood, J.J. [382], Italy 43646.000
    Cribb, P. [238], Greece 40865.000
    Banks, C., Italy 25819.000
    Collins, P.B. [75/0010], Italy 41296.000
    Joseph, J. [366], Spain 48817.000
    Herbert [s.n.], Italy K000364097
    Tineo [s.n.], Italy K000364100
    Devey, D.S. [A-D] 73214.000
    Devey, D.S. [441-443] 73222.000
    Botteri, M. [s.n.], Croatia K000364094
    Heldreich, T.H.H.von [s.n.], Greece K000364093
    Tineo, V. [s.n.], Italy K000364095
    Talbot, W.P. [s.n.], Italy Orchis cyrilli K000364096
    s.coll. [s.n.] Orchis cyrilli K000364098
    s.coll. [s.n.] Orchis cyrilli K000364099

    First published in Syn. Pl. Fl. Gall.: 169 (1806)

    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.


    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2005). Flora Iberica 21: 1-366. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.


    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 2020. 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 2020. 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
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