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This genus is accepted, and its native range is Europe to Russian Far East, E. Canada to Greenland.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


A monospecific genus distributed in boreal and temperate Europe and Asia cast to Kamtchatka, south to t he Pyrenees and Apennines, extending via Iceland and Greenland to Newfoundland. (JW).


Pseudorchis usually grows in full sunlight in rough meadows, pastures, and other impoverished grasslands but can also be found in heathland and open coniferous woods. Although it normally grows in mountain areas at elevations up to 2700 m, it does occur at much lower elevations, such as at sea level on the west coast of Scotland (Allan et al. 1993). ln Scandinavia two distinct morphological types of P. albida have been recognized that show different habitat preferences; they probably immigrated separately into ennoscandia after the last glaciation. One type grows in open woodlands and hay-meadows in the lowlands and subalpine zone, whereas the other is associated with open mountain habitats in the alpine area (Reinhammar 1995, 1998).
Throughout its distribution, Pseudorchis grows on both acidic and calcareous soils, which are usually dry and, if they are damp, are well drained (Summerhayes 1951). Pseudorchis plants have a relatively short flowering period, normally from mid-June to mid -July, altlhough this varies according to elevation. High fruit-set, over 90%, has been reported for this nectariferous orchid (Neiland and Wilcock 1998), aided by facultative autogamy at the end of the flowering period (Summerhayes 1951).
Seed germination in the field is said to be high because large populations can sometimes be formed, whereas vegetative propagation f the tuber is thought to make an insignificant contribution to population growth (Summerhayes 1985). The ends f the tubers of Pseudorchis are narrow and heavily infected with mycorrhizal fungi, as are its narrow, horizontal roots (Summerhayes 1985). Downie (1959) isolated a fungus from adult plants but was unab le to germinate any seeds of Pseudorchis with it or any of her test strains of Rhizoctonia solani (Rasmussen 1995), although other workers have successfully germinated the seeds asymbiotically using different media (Hadley 1982; Veyret 1969). Following seed germination under natural conditions, an aerial tern does not appear above ground for at least four years (Fuchs and Ziegenspeck 1927, cited in Rasmusscn 1995). The foliage leaves remain green throughout the summer and senesce in October (Moller 1987, cited in Rasmussen 1995), but even when in flower it remains a small and inconspicuous orchid.
Pseudorchis is locally common in some areas such as Scandinavia, but especially in the southern parts of its range it is much less frequent and only appears singly or in small populations. Pseudorchis can tolerate low levels of shade. In Scotland P. albida has been found growing on recently burned grouse moorland among heather (Calluna vulgaris), but as the heather grows it becomes less vigorous and eventually disappears (Allan et al. 1993). (RN).

General Description

Small herb. Rootstock tuberous, tubers sessile, bifid to palmate, the slender cylindrical divisions thickened distally. Stem erect, leafy. Leaves 3-7, oblong-ligulate, obtuse to acute, unspotted. Inflorescence cylindrical, densely many-flowered; floral bracts herbaceous, equalling or exceeding ovary. Flowers small, resupinate, greenish yellow to whitish. Sepals and petals connivent, forming a hood. Labellum three-lobed, shortly spurred . Column suberect; rostellum small , three-lobed; pollinia two, each attached to a small free viscidium. Ovary sessile, twisted, glabrous. (JW).

Native to:

Altay, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Chita, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Føroyar, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk, Newfoundland, North European Russi, Norway, Poland, Québec, Romania, Sakhalin, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuva, Ukraine, West Siberia, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia

Extinct in:

Belgium, Netherlands

Pseudorchis Ség. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Pl. Veron. 3: 254 (1754)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2001). Orchidoideae (Part 1) Genera Orchidacearum 2: 1-416. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

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