Green-winged Orchid

Anacamptis morio

The Green-winged Orchid is a member of the Orchidaceae family. It blooms early in the year – from April to June. Its scientific name derives from the Greek "moros", which means fool, and refers to its flower, which looks a bit like a fool's cap. Another common name is Green-veined orchid due to the markings on its flower.

The Green-winged Orchid grows to around 10 to 25cm high, more rarely to 40cm. The flowers are purple, violet to pink, and occasionally white specimens may be sighted. All flowers have the tell-tale parallel green veins on the outside. The lip is three lobed and is wider than it is long. The midlobe is slightly cleft and has an emarginate tip while the lateral lobes are often folded back. The spur is prostrate or with an upward curve. Inflorescence is short and carries 5-20 medium-sized flowers which are normally loosely arranged. There are normally from six to nine green leaves, unspotted, lanceolate and arranged rosette-like. The basal leaves are formed in the autumn and over-winter.

Across nearly all of Europe except for central and northern Scandinavia, eastern Russia, Portugal and Spain.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
All members of the orchid family enjoy full protection in Austria. The Green-winged Orchid is among the species listed as vulnerable (and in some regions endangered). Although the orchid may sometimes be seen in large numbers in the Donau-Auen National Park, one should still be aware that it is a rare species.

Ecological Characteristics
Orchis mório thrives in unimproved meadows and forest glades. The Green-winged Orchid prefers sun and sites which are arid or seasonally flooded. In the National Park, the species is most often found in the xeric, or extremely dry, habitats.

Special Characteristics
The root of the Green-winged Orchid was formerly used in some societies for the production of salep, a starch-like powder which is nutritious and acts as a demulcent. Nowadays, the development of the species has been crippled or in some cases eliminated altogether by activities such as harvesting of bulbs, mowing of meadows and over-fertilization.


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