Anacamptis pyramidalis (L.) Rich.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Europe, Medit. to N. Iran.


In late autumn, the daughter's tubers develop small shoots that form a new rosette of leaves from which leaves and a flower spike will rise in the spring. The period of bloom is from full spring to the early summer; the autogamous flowers are visited and pollinated by many different insects. In the southern-most part of the distribution area (e.g. on Cyprus), blossoming plants were observed near sea level at the end of February, whereas very far to the north (e.g. in Ireland) or in alpine biotopes, the plants blossom until August. One month after flowering the maturation of the seeds starts and the percentage of flowers setting seed is normally very high.


This species settles from sea level to heights of more than 2,300 m. The vast distribution area reaches from North Africa through western and Central Europe along the Atlantic coast to the Hebrides and northern outposts exist on some Baltic islands. To the east, it is extremely likely that the influence of the increasing continental climate has prevented further propagation. To the south-east it remains close to the coasts of the Levant, while it reaches the Caucasians south of the Caspian Sea via the high mountains of northern Turkey.


In Central Europe the species settles in open sunny areas on soil rich in bases, with a predilection to mountainous and extensive high valley meadows. In Southern Europe it is often found in coastal regions especially in areas of degenerated shrub, such as phrygana, but especially in tall thorn shrubs. It has revealed an astonishing ecological width and adaptation, for example in Ireland, it settles in small mossy areas of coastal dunes and damp places that originate from watercourses that formed the dunes. Within these rather hostile-to-life biotopes it appears in a dwarfish form; even similar high alpine adaptations are also noteworthy.

General Description

Fully flowered plants can grow to 50 cm tall and have up to 12 strap-shaped, keeled leaves with pointed tips that are bunched closer to the ground. The plants have two small ovoid tubers. The epithet pyramidalis characterises only the newly blossoming inflorescence in contrast to the later stages, when the blossom is less conical and more oval and domed. The flowers have a very long and thin spur that is tapering towards its end; however, there are local colonies that have relatively short spurs. The lip, ends as a rule, as three pointed and elongated lobes. At the base of the lip are two upright calluses (ridges) found, either side of the spur entrance. The top sepal and petals form a helmet like hood over the column, the lateral sepals extend sideways horizontally and are a little bigger than the top sepal. As a rule, the colour of the flowers is vividly pink to carmine, however the colour is also highly variable. The two pollinaria have a common viscidium.

Native to:

Albania, Algeria, Austria, Baleares, Baltic States, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Aegean Is., France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kriti, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, Morocco, Netherlands, North Caucasus, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Ukraine, Yugoslavia

Anacamptis pyramidalis (L.) Rich. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Jan 1, 2011 Day, C.D. [629], Turkey K000341570 No
Messel, Italy 19443.000 No
Howell, W., United Kingdom 20419.000 No
Malta 20420.000 No
de Aguilar, A., Spain 206.000 No
Summerhayes, V.S. [1592], United Kingdom 207.000 No
United Kingdom 20742.000 No
Hubbard, C.E., United Kingdom 20744.000 No
Green, M.L., United Kingdom 20745.000 No
Sandeman, C. [4], France 208.000 No
Scullan, J.J., Ireland 209.000 No
210.000 No
Harley, R.M., Greece 24814.000 No
Suart, J.B. [A5], Cyprus 26214.000 No
Payne, T.H., United Kingdom 26332.011 No
Adams, L.G. [237], United Kingdom 28327.000 No
Barneby, T.P., France 31654.000 No
Verdcourt, B. [4559], France 31700.000 No
Blamey, P. [10], Spain 38321.000 No
Blamey, P. [1], Spain 38323.000 No
Wood, J.J. [153], Greece 38925.000 No
Wood, J.J. [213], Italy 38949.000 No
Wood, J.J. [264], Greece 39348.000 No
Emanuel, D., Malta 39418.000 No
Wood, J.J. [507], France 45910.000 No
Albury, Turkey 47428.000 No
Clements, M.A. [2586], Greece 47453.000 No
Clements, M.A. [2703], Italy 47691.000 No
Joseph, J. [377], Spain 48815.000 No
Wood, J.J. [775], Cyprus 49268.000 No
Albury, S.D. [A. C & W 123], Turkey 50665.000 No
Hooper, S., Greece 7149.000 No
Chase [14201a] 70554.000 No
70689.000 No
Chase [16360] 71733.000 No
Amini [6902] 73600.000 No
Prescott [s.n.] K000364039 Yes
76409.000 No
Fay, M.F. [MFF 258] K000364646 No
Trevelyan, W.C. [s.n.], Portugal K000364040 Yes
Italy K000364041 Yes
Lang, A.F. [s.n.] K000364042 Yes
Edgar, G.H. [1005], Great Britain K000718734 No

First published in De Orchid. Eur.: 33 (1817)

Accepted by

  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2005). Flora Iberica 21: 1-366. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • Curtis, T. & Thompson, R. (2009). The orchids of Ireland: 1-160. National Museums of Northern Ireland, Cultra, Holywood.
  • 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.
  • Dobignard, D. & Chatelain, C. (2010). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 1: 1-455. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  • Dogignard, A. (2009). Contributions à la connaissance de la flore du Maroc et de l'Afrique du Nord. Nouvelle série. 2. La flore du Nord-Maroc Journal de Botanique Société de Botanique de France 46-47: 1-136.
  • G.I.R.O.S. (2009). Orchidee d'Italia: 1-303. Il Castello srl, Italy.
  • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 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.
  • Kühn, R., Pedersen, H.Æ. & Cribb, v (2019). Field Guide to the Orchids of Europe and the Mediterranean: 1-430. Kew Publishing, England.
  • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006). Konspekt Flora Kavkaza 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
  • Vázquez Pardo, F.M. (2009). Revisión de la familia Orchidaceae en Extremadura (España) Folia Botanica Extremadurensis 3: 1-367.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Hassler, M. (2012). Flora of Rhodes. Systematic list of flora of Rhodes


  • Kretzschmar, H., Eccarius, W. & Dietrich, H. The orchid genera Anacamptis, Orchis and Neotinea: phylogeny, taxonomy, morphology, biology, distribution, ecology and hybridisation. (EchinoMedia: 2007).

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    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

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