Dactylorhiza sambucina (L. ) Soó

ex Orchis sambucina L.

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

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

1. 2.

Photos: Pryce Buckle


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) 

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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

Flowering Time: IV—VI. 

References: „Флора на НР България”, том II, БАН, София, (1964), Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Distribution in Bulgaria: 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. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: 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 the Biodiversity Law. Законодателство на Република България: Закон за биологичното разнообразие

Medical plant: - not medical plant -

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