Orchis italica Poir.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Medit.

[O-EM]
Ecology

This lime-loving species settles amongst thin grasses, garrigues, light scrubby bushes and bright woodland on dry to seasonally wet subsoil rich in alkalines but even it likes to grow on particularly stony soils. It is found from the coast to a hights up to 1,300 m.

General Description

Orchis italica is a medium-sized plant, growing to between 20-40 cm high, however, now and then, it can also reach a height of 50 cm. The stalk is straight and thick, at its base are between 5 and 8 elongated oval leaves in a rosette, each with a length of between 5 and 11 cm and a width of between 1.5 and 2.5 cm. The leaves, very clearly and typically, have an undulated margin, they are, thereby, absolutely unmistakeable, and in this manner even sterile specimens cari be identified easily; this sign is unique in the whole genus. The leaves are mainly mottled but sometimes unmottled or faintly mottled specimens appear. The first or second uppermost leaves, vaginate the stalk and also envelop the inflorescence during the bud stage.

The fully developed flower spike is 3.5 to 6.5 cm long and has many densely arranged flowers. The bracts are small and membranous, about 3 to 4 times shorter than the ovary. The sepals and petals form a helmet that is pale to light red with crimson veins. The lateral sepals are both lanceolate and long acuminate, and they are about 9-12 mm long; the matched petals are smaller. The lip is deeply divided into three parts, the wide central lobe runs out into two long and narrow lobules that are pointed at the tip. They are almost always irregularly bent; this leads to a very typical appearance of the whole inflorescence. Between both of these lobules is a third, filament-like appendage that bends strongly upwards and forward, it reaches at most, one third of the length of the side lobules (here the epithet longipenis is referred to in the synonym Orchis longicruris ssp. longipenis). Both side lobes are 1.3 to 1.6 cm long, with spiky tips, they also bend weakly upwards. The lip has a light violet to pink-violet colour and is drawn with numerous contrasting dark red streaks that exceptionally may be absent. The thin spur bends downwards and is approximately half as long as the ovary; it is 4 to 6 mm long on average and contains no nectar.

Threats

ln wide parts of its distribution area, the species does not seem to be endangered, a huge number of strong populations and regular mass populations are not particularly rare. This does not exclude the fact that local biotope destruction due to building projects and extensions of the infrastructure results in the extinction of these local populations.

Biology

The flowering time ranges according to altitude and geographic situation of the biotope from beginning of March to the middle of May. No data on pollinators is available and the percentage of flowers setting seed has not been documented up to now either. However, it is most likely an allogamous species, which is underlined, in particular, by the existence of hybrids with Orchis anthropophora and Orchis simia.

Native to:

Albania, Algeria, Baleares, Cyprus, East Aegean Is., Greece, Italy, Kriti, Lebanon-Syria, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Yugoslavia

Orchis italica Poir. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Sep 21, 1970 Trevelyan, W.C. [s.n.], Portugal K000364130 Yes
Sep 21, 1970 Trevelyan, W.C. [16824] K000364129 Yes
Italy 19444.000 No
Syngrassides, A. [1467], Cyprus 20422.000 No
Greece 20427.000 No
224.000 No
Watson, J.M. [33], Turkey 225.000 No
Harley, R.M., Greece 24638.000 No
Harley, R.M. [B], Greece 24639.000 No
Harley, R.M., Greece 24642.000 No
Clements, M.A. [2550], Greece 48771.000 No
Italy 5839.000 No
Goulimy, C.N., Greece 5840.000 No
Italy 5843.000 No
70412.000 No
Chase, M.W. [O-547 K] 70665.000 No
Gussone [s.n.], Italy K000364133 Yes
s.coll. [s.n.], Sicilia K000364134 Yes
s.coll. [s.n.] K000364131 Yes
Johnson, M.A.T. [s.n.], Cyprus K000396275 No
Tineo [s.n.], Italy K000364132 Yes

First published in J.B.A.M.de Lamarck, Encycl. 4: 600 (1798)

Accepted by

  • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2005). Flora Iberica 21: 1-366. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • 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.
  • G.I.R.O.S. (2009). Orchidee d'Italia: 1-303. Il Castello srl, Italy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Schopp, K. & Schopp, R. (2009). Orchis italica Poiret - eine bisher nicht bekannte Orchideenart auf Sardinien Berichte aus den arbeitskreisen heimische orchideen 26: 143-144.
  • Vázquez Pardo, F.M. (2009). Revisión de la familia Orchidaceae en Extremadura (España) Folia Botanica Extremadurensis 3: 1-367.

Literature

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Dobignard, D. & Chatelain, C. (2010). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 1: 1-455. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  • 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.
  • Schopp, K. & Schopp, R. (2009). Orchis italica Poiret - eine bisher nicht bekannte Orchideenart auf Sardinien Berichte aus den arbeitskreisen heimische orchideen 26: 143-144.

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    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 2022. 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 2022. 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

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images

  • Orchideae: e-monocot.org

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