MAN ORCHID

Orchis anthropophora

(Formerly: Aceras anthropophorum)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8green
flower
flower8brown
inner
inner8brown
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZscarce

9th June 2010, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Flowering spike from 15 - 40cm tall


8th May 2009, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
Up to 40 flowers suspended from stalks.


June, Near Gourdon, Lot region of France Photo: © Kelly Finney
The basal leaves are lanceolate; not as broad and longer than those of the similar (but 'arm-less') Common Twayblade. This specimen is a yellow variant, detailed below.


June, Near Gourdon, Lot region of France Photo: © Kelly Finney
Stem pale green. The hood is green, but the lip can be either yellow-green, or a yellow-green body with reddish brown, or with reddish 'arms' and 'legs' as here. The shape is like that of a man, sometimes to the extent of having a short third 'leg'. The hood consists of three close segments.


June, Near Gourdon, Lot region of France Photo: © Kelly Finney
A rare variation, Orchis anthropophora var. flavescens lacks red pigments and has a green hood and a yellow lip. This specimen seems to have 'arms' almost as long as his two 'legs'.


2nd May 2009, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley


2nd May 2009, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
The cowl can redden especially at the edges.


2nd May 2009, Lot Valley, France. Photo: © Hester Coley
A typical 'man' shaped tongue.


9th June 2010, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Legs 11.


9th June 2010, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
The sexual organs are hidden inside the hood.


9th June 2010, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Some 'men' have a small extra protuberence between the 'legs'. The hood is red-edged.


Easily mistaken for : Common Twayblade but that is arm-less having only two limbs on the lip and not four, and its basal leaves number only two and those are very broad and oval rather than the four lanceolate basal leaves of Man Orchid.

Hybridises with : Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia) to produce Orchis × bergonii which was found in one site in Kent in 1985.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Isle of Man Cabbage [a plant with similar name].

Although some or all the photographs above were taken in France, this Orchid does grow in the UK too but is relatively scarce.

Grows on short turf on limestone especially on the North Downs of Kent.

The floral bouquet is due to a large number of volatile aliphatic compounds, alkanoids (which resemble alkanes and are not to be confused with alkaloids), terpenes, terpenoids and sesquiterpenoids. The main aliphatic compounds are Nonanol and Undecane whereas the main terpenoids are Benzaldehyde and Methyl Salicylate. Monoterpenes include α-Pinene and β-Pinene, Limonene and Eucalyptol (aka 1,8-Cineole). The sesquiterpenes include β-Caryophyllene and Caryophylladienol


  Orchis anthropophora  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orchidaceae  

Distribution
 family8Orchid family8Orchidaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Orchis
Orchis
(Orchids)

MAN ORCHID

Orchis anthropophora

(Formerly: Aceras anthropophorum)
Orchid Family [Orchidaceae]