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Green-winged Orchid
Anacamptis morio

The Green-winged Orchid is an early-flowering orchid, first appearing in late April or early May and continuing to flower into the first half of June. This orchid is scarce and localised and, due to habitat loss and destruction, is now in steep decline throughout the UK. Its association with ancient, species-rich grasslands is its main downfall since, in the UK, we have now lost well over ninety percent of our old wildflower meadows. Green-winged Orchids can be found in a range of habitats from dry limestone grassland to damp pastures. In some areas this orchid grows on railway embankments, in churchyards and also in sand dunes. It prefers open sunny positions. Although superficially similar to the Early-purple Orchid, the Green-winged Orchid has unspotted leaves and always has parallel green 'stripes' on its sepals which, together with two petals form a 'hood' at the top of the flower. The flowers vary in colour including pink-purple, pale rose pink and even white.

Distribution Map Key Features
distribution map

Records for the Green-winged Orchid from BSBI are shown on the map with most recent in front. (Hover the mouse over the small map to expand it.)

CLICK HERE to visit the BSBI website page for updated data and maps with separated data for individual record periods

Plant: 7-30cm, occasionally to 50cm, stem flushed pink-to-purple towards the top.
Leaves: up to 7 semi-erect lanceolate-oval in basal rosette, blue-green and unspotted.
Bracts: 2-3 smaller bract-like leaves below the flower.
Flowers: Relatively few and quite large, mainly pink-purple but often paler pink or almost white. The sepals and petals form a 'hood' that encloses the column. The lip is broad and divided into 3 lobes, often with dark purple spots in the centre. The spur is the same colour as the lip and flattened towards the tip. The flowers are reputed to have a delicate scent reminiscent of vanilla.

Image Gallery for Green-winged Orchid Anacamptis morio


Pollination Taxonomy & Hybrids

The Green-winged Orchid is pollinated mainly by bees. It is a deceit orchid that attracts insect visitors without offering a reward, as it does not produce nectar. The most widely accepted view is that the main pollinators are various species of bees, and the flowers are especially attractive to naive queens early in their flight period.

The Green-winged Orchid belonged, until recently, to the genus Orchis, but recent genetic studies have revealed that it (and the Loose-flowered Orchid Anacamptis laxiflora with which it sometimes hybridises) is more closely related to the Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, and so it has now joined the genus Anacamptis.

Hybrids with the Early-purple Orchid Orchis mascula (Orchis × morioides) are recorded in England and Wales, and hybrids with Anacamptis laxiflora (Anacamptis x alata) have been found in Guernsey and Jersey.

Articles about Green-winged Orchid in JHOS