Dactylorhiza sambucina (L.) Soó

ex Orchis sambucina L.

Fl. Suec. ed. 2 (1775) 312 ; Hayek Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. III (1933) 395 - Elder-flowered Orchid

Fam:   Orchidaceae Lindl.
Genus:  Dactylorhiza Necker ex Nevski, (1937)
Species: Dactylorhiza sambucina (L.) Soó
English Name: Elder-flowered Orchid



Beschreibung: Pflanze gedrungen, 10 - 30 cm hoch. Stengel hohl, blaßgrun, oberwärts rinnig. Laubblätter 4 - 6, am Grunde gedrängt, lebhaft grün, ungeffeckt, aus schmälerem Grunde länglich bis lanzettlich, zugespitzt. Blütenstand eiformig bis zylindrisch, dicht- und reichblütig. Blüten hellgelb oder hell- bis dunkelrot mit gelblichem Schlund, schwach nach Holunder duftend. Tragblätter lanzettlich, länger bis so lang wie die Blüten. Sepalen eiförmig-lanzettlich, stumpf, die seitlichen abstehend bis zurückgeschlagen, das mittlere mit den Petalen zusammenneigend. Petalen länglich-eiförmig, kürzer. Lippe queroval bis rundlich, 8 - 10 mm lang, 11 - 16 mm breit, flach, bisweilen vorne dreilappig, Malzeichnung aus kleinen Punkten bestehend. Sporn walzlich-zylindrisch, sehr lang (12 - 15 mm) und dick (3 mm), meist steil abwärts gerichtet.
Bliitezeit: Von April bis Juni, je nach Hohenlage.
Höhenverbreitung: Von der Ebene bis etwa 2100 m, vorwiegend in den Berglagen.
Standort: Trockene und frische Wiesen, lichte Nadelwälder, bevorzugt kalkarme Boden.
Naturschutz: In der BRD vom Aussterben bedroht.
Bastarde: Mit D. majalis und romana, C. viride, G. conopsea.
Bildnachweis: 20. 5. 1981, Orihuela (Mittelostspanien), H. Baumann.
Das Bild zeigt die gelbe Farbvariante. Die Blütenlippe ist fast ganzrandig, der Sporn
sackartig und nach unten weisend.   

* * *

Description: Stocky plant, 10 - 30 cm high. Stem hollow, pale green, upper ward furrowed. Leaves 4 - 6, crowded at the base, vivid green, without spots, from a narrow base to spear elongated, tapered. Inflorescence ovate cylindrical, thick, and with many blossoms. Blossoms light yellow or light to dark red with yellow throat, with a slightscent oflilac. Bracts lanceolate, longer until as long as the blossoms. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, obtuse, lateral projecting up repulsed, the medium with the petals together. Petals oblong-ovate, shorter. Lip transversely oval to round, 8 - 10 mm long, 11 - 16 mm wide, flat, sometimes forward trilobate, Drawing consisting of small dots. Spurroundedcylindrical, very long (12 - 15 mm) and thick (3 mm), mostly abruptly downwards.
Flowering time:  From April to June, depending on the altitude.
Height Spread: from the plains to about 2100 m, mainly in the Bergslagen.
Habitat:Dry and fresh meadows, light coniferous forests, preferably lime-soil.
Conservation: In Germany threatened with extinction.
Bastards: With D. majalis and romana, C. viride G. conopsea.
Origin pictures: 20. 5. 1981, Orihuela (Middle East Spain), H. Baumann.
The picture shows the yellow blossom variant. The llossom’s lip is almost entire, the spur
baggy and pointing downwards.
From: "Die wildwachsende Orchideen Europas", H. Baumann, S. Künkele, Kosmos, Stuttgart, (1982)


Dactylorhiza sambucina reaches on average 10–40 centimetres (3.9–16 in) of height. These plants are bulbous geophytes, as they bring their buds in underground tubers or bulbs, organs that annually produce new stems, leaves and flowers. Furthermore these orchids are "terrestrial", because unlike "epiphyte" species do not live at the expense of other plants of major sizes.

This orchid has a short, quarrying and tubulous stem. The leaves are amplexicaul and vary from 4 to 7, the lower ones are oblong-obovate with obtuse apex, while the upper leaves are lanceolate with acute apex. Size of leaves: width 1 to 2.5 cm, length 6 – 12 cm.

The underground part of the stem has two webbed tubers each one more or less deeply divided into several lobes or tubercles (characteristic of the genus Dactylorhiza), the first one plays the important functions of supplying the stem, while the second one collects nutrient materials for the development of the plant that will form in the coming year.

The inflorescence is 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense spikes. The flowers are placed in the axils of bracts membranous and lanceolate-shaped. The flowers reaches on average 10–15 centimetres (3.9–5.9 in) and bloom from mid-April to early July. Their colors vary from yellow with light reddish stains or purple speckled with darker spots on the labellum.

They are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects entomophily, especially bumblebees (Bombus species, Apidae). These orchids are almost without nectar, but they are visited by various pollinator insects as they are confused with other plants with nectar. The seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
From: Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia



Perennials. Tubers lanky or cylindrical, atop his short 2 - 4 shares, rarely entire. Stem up to 25 cm high, to the top covered with leaves. Leaves 4 - 5, without spots, the lower back oval lanceolate, widest at the top, blunted, above 1 - 2 lanceolate, narrowed at the base, gradually decreasing in size by climbing the stem. The top of them reach the inflorescence. Inflorescence oval, not very thick. Bracts broadly lanceolate, longer than the ovary, the lower longer than blossoms. Blossoms copper red or pale yellow, odorless. Perianth leaflets lanky oval, blunt, external rolled back, the inner collected. Lip with semicircular shape, with a wavy edge, sometimes vague tripartite, front with spots in the middle. Spur thick, cylindrical conical, downward, as long as the ovary or longer.
From:  „Флора на НР България”, том II, БАН, София, (1964) 

Flowering Time: April - June

References: "Die wildwachsende Orchideen Europas", H. Baumann, S. Künkele, Kosmos, Stuttgart, (1982), "Флора на НР България", том II, БАН, София, (1964), Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Distribution in Bulgaria: In the foothills and mountains, mostly in the western half of the country. Vitosha and Slavyanka to 2000 m altitude. This species presents mainly in the Bulgarian mountains and foothills, mainly in the western part of Bulgaria. On Vitosha and Slavyanka (Славянка) mountains until 2000 meter altitude. In meadows and glades, rarely in the bushes or in rare woods. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: From Scandinavia, Southern Finland and the Baltic states to northern Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Balkan Peninsula. Missing in the Mediterranean area. Indicate Caucasus . Vitosha and Slavyanka to 2000 m altitude. This orchid is quite common and widespread throughout central and southern Europe (absent in the Dinaric Alps and less frequent on the north side of the Alps).

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by theBiodiversity Law. Законодателство на Република България: Закон за биологичното разнообразие

Medical plant: not medical plant. -



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