FROG ORCHID

Coeloglossum viride

(Formerly: Habenaria viridis and Dactylorhiza viridis)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8red
 
inner
inner8brown
 
inner
inner8brown
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZspurred
v. short
stem
stem8round
 

July 2007, Harris, Outer Hebrides July 2007 Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
A short orchid, only between 5 to 15cm tall and rarely up to a foot. Between 3 and 5 strap-shaped basal leaves. Compact flowering spike, some plants having prominent long bracts, as here.


July 2007, Harris, Outer Hebrides July 2007 Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
A short compact cowl of three sepals forming a globular shape. Sepals green in wetter conditions, reddish in dryer conditions. A long, greenish, almost parallel-sided tongue with three short rounded lobes protrudes from the cowl of sepals. Basal leaves have but one vein. Depending upon the moisture content of the soil, the flowers can be either reddish-brown (dry) or yellowish-green (wetter) as here.


July 2007, Harris, Outer Hebrides July 2007 Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
Red cowl indicative of drier conditions. The long green tongue has two longer outer lobes, and a shorter middle lobe (dead centre).


August 2009, Island of Coll, Hebrides, Scotland. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer
A spent flower going to seed. An Eyebright behind.


Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Scotland Photo: © Martin Summers


Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Scotland Photo: © Martin Summers
Tapering bracts at intervals along the stem and amidst the flowering spike point upwards, and can be long in some specimens.


Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Scotland Photo: © Martin Summers
The lip, paler in colour than the hood, is long, parallel-sided and has three short lobes keeping within the profile of the lip (central flower). The lip folds back under the ovary (the 'stalk' of the flower in orchids). Overall this gives the impression of a frog with hind legs outstretched at the back.


Hybridises with :

All these hybrids are rare.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Frog Rush nor with Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Flowers late June to early September. The colour of the sepals varies depending upon the moisture conditions of the soil: yellow-green in wetter sites, and red-brown in drier ones. The yellow-green ones give rise to the specific epithet part of the scientific name viridis. The spur at the rear of the flower is a very short 2mm long.

Habitat in the South is on grassy places and short turf on limy soils, elsewhere it grows in meadows, mountain ledges or dunes. Flowering in specific places is erratic from year to year, but sometimes individual specimens can flower 7 years contiguously.


  Coeloglossum viride  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Coeloglossum
Coeloglossum
(Frog Orchid)

FROG ORCHID

Coeloglossum viride

(Formerly: Habenaria viridis and Dactylorhiza viridis)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

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