Dactylorhiza cordigera (Fries) Soò

(18). О. Cordtgera Fries Novit. Fl. Suec. Mant. III (1842) 130; Hayek Prodr. Fl. Penin. Balc. III (1933) 355; 0. latifolia auet. vix L. — Сърцевиден салеп

Novit Fl. Suec. Mant. III (1842) 130; Hayek Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. III (1933) 355; O. latifolia auct. vix L.

ex Orchis cordigera Fries

Fam: Orchidaceae   Lindl. 
Genus:  Dactylorhiza Necker ex Nevski, (1937)
Species: Dactylorhiza cordigera (Fries) Soò

English Name: Heart-flowered Orchid



Photos by Pryce Buckle


Perennials. 2 - 4 tubers deep-lobed. Stem up to 40 cm high. Leaves 4 - 6 usually with dark spots, the lower back lanky oval on top dumb, spreading, the upper oval lanceolate or lanceolate, erect, reaching the base of the inflorescence. Inflorescence oval or lanky. Purple bracts, long as the blossoms or longer than them. Blossoms purple. Perianth leaflets lanky lanceolate, both external rolled back, the rest gathered together. Lip large, broadly oval or almost heart, whole or in front tripartite halfway with curves almost concentric lines. Spur conical downward, more than twice as long as the ovary.

From: „Флора на НР България”, том II, БАН, София, (1964) 

Dactylorhiza cordigera is endemic to Europe where it is found in the Balkans, extending from northern Greece, to Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and northwards to the Carpathians and Ukraine. This species is found from 900-2,400 m altitude. (Delforge 1995, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2010, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).
Dactylorhiza cordigera is quite widespread and somewhat abundant where it occurs. Some populations of the species are estimated to be of dozens of thousands of individuals but the distributional area of these populations is very limited. The trend of the population is decreasing due to many threats.(Delforge 1995, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).
Typical habitats of Dactylorhiza cordigera include marshy mountain meadows, stream banks, springs and seepages. It grows in acid to alkaline soils in full sunlight and flowers in spring and early summer. (Delforge 1995, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Flowering Time: May - August


“Flora of Peoples Republic Bulgaria”, vol. II, Bulg. Acad. Sci. Sofia, (1964),

Distribution in Bulgaria:

Damp medows and bogs in the foothills and mountains up to 2000 m altitude in almost Bulgaria. Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc  


Found in the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia and Greece in full sun in marshy mountain meadows, stream banks and seepages at elevations of 900 to 2400 meters as a small to medium sized, cold growing terrestrial with a hollow stem carrying 3 to 7, cauline, spotted blackish violet on upper side, broadly oval to lanceolate, erect to spreading, often arched downwards, largest one broadest towards the upper third leaves that blooms in the later spring and summer on an erect, 3 to 12 cm long, dense 5 to 40 flowered inflorescence with floral bracts often far longer than the lower flowers.

Conservation status and threats:  

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

Photo(s) taken on: 1.Vitosha on 2002-20-06,  and 2. On the Way to Pamporovo on 2003-23-06

Medical plant:  it is not medical plant - 

Placed by kind permission of the proprietor

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