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Brief Summary

Why call a purple orchid green-winged? If you look closely at the blossoms, you will see that the side petals ('the wings') have green stripes. This orchid is also known as the green-veined orchid. The green-winged orchid grows mostly in damp, calcium-rich, scanty hay fields and is legally protected. The flower stalk consists of 5-25 loosely grouped helmet-shaped flowers. It often grows together with yellow-rattle. The unusual association of green-winged orchid and yellow-rattle is probably not found outside of the Netherlands.
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Plant / pollenated
adult of Apoidea pollenates or fertilises flower of Anacamptis morio

Plant / pollenated
queen of Bombus pollenates or fertilises flower of Anacamptis morio
Other: major host/prey


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Anacamptis morio

Anacamptis morio, the green-winged orchid or green-veined orchid (synonym Orchis morio) is a flowering plant of the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

Green-winged orchid (A. morio) in bloom in meadow habitat

It is a native of western Eurasia, ranging from Europe to Iran. In the British Isles it is found in central-southern England, Wales and Ireland. It grows in grassy meadows, especially on limestone-rich soil, reaching a height of 40 cm.

It flowers from late April to June in the British Isles, and as early as February in other countries, such as France. The inflorescence is of various colours, mainly purple but ranging from white, through pink, to deep purple. From 5 to 25 helmet-shaped flowers grow in a loose, linear bunch at the top of the single stalk. The name morio is derived from the Greek word "moros" meaning "fool". This refers to the colorful, green striped flowers. A pair of lateral sepals with prominent green, occasionally purple veins extend laterally like "wings", giving the orchid its name. The broad, three lobed, lower petal is pale in the center with dark spots.

Leaves are lanceolate, or sometimes ovate, and grow in a rosette around the base of the plan, with some thinner leaves clasping the stem and sheathing almost up to the flowers. Leaves are green and unspotted.

It is similar in appearance to the early purple orchid, Orchis mascula, but has green stripes on the two lateral sepals, and lacks the spots or blotches of the Early Purple's leaves.


As of May 2014, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts six subspecies:[3]

British Isles[edit]

It is a protected species in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order of 1985.[4]

In 2001 Anacamptis morio was adopted as the logo for Priory Vale, the third and final instalment in Swindon's 'Northern Expansion' project. Due to a rapid decline in the species they are protected in certain cases, although still regarded as being quite common in the Swindon area, especially Clifford Meadow, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) off Thamesdown Drive, Swindon.



  1. ^ R. M. Bateman, A. M. Pridgeon, M. W. Chase (1997). "Phylogenetics of subtribe Orchidinae (Orchidoideae, Orchidaceae) based on nuclear its sequences. 2. Infrageneric relationships and reclassification to achieve monophyly of Orchis sensu stricto". Lindleyana 12: 113–141. 
  2. ^ "Anacamptis morio". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  3. ^ morio "Search for Anacamptis morio". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  4. ^ Orchis morio :: Flora of Northern Ireland web site
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