AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Cephalanthera rubra (L.) Rich., De Orchid. Eur.: 38 (1817).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Serapias rubra L., Syst. Nat. ed. 12, 2: 594 (1767).
Epipactis rubra (L.) F.W.Schmidt, Samml. Phys.-Oekon. Aufsätze 1: 253 (1795).
Cymbidium rubrum (L.) Sw., J. Bot. (Schrader) 1799(2): 226 (1800).
Helleborine rubra (L.) Schrank, Fl. Monac. 2: 119 (1814).
Dorycheile rubra (L.) Fuss, Fl. Transsilv.: 628 (1866).
Limodorum rubrum (L.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Epipactis purpurea Crantz, Stirp. Austr. Fasc., ed. 2, 2: 457 (1769).
Cephalanthera comosa Tineo in G.Gussone, Fl. Sicul. Syn. 2: 877 (1844).
Cephalanthera rubra var. comosa (Tineo) Nyman, Consp. Fl. Eur.: 687 (1882).
Epipactis rubra lusus albiflora Harz in D.F.L.von Schlechtendal, Fl. Deutschl. ed. 5, Neuer Abdruck, 4: 330 (1895 publ. 1896).
Epipactis rubra lusus parviflora Harz in D.F.L.von Schlechtendal, Fl. Deutschl. ed. 5, Neuer Abdruck, 4: 327 (1895 publ. 1896).
Cephalanthera rubra lusus albiflora (Harz) Touss. & Hoschedé, Fl. Vernon: 254 (1898).
Cephalanthera rubra f. latior Zapal., Consp. Fl. Gallic. Crit. 1: 222 (1906).
Cephalanthera rubra var. tenczyniensis Zapal., Consp. Fl. Gallic. Crit. 1: 222 (1906).
Epipactis rubra var. parviflora (Harz) W.Zimm., Form. Orch. Deut.: 82 (1912).
Cephalanthera rubra f. parviflora (Harz) Soó, Arch. Bot. (Leipzig) 23: 115 (1928).
Cephalanthera rubra f. tenczyniensis (Zapal.) Soó, Arch. Bot. (Leipzig) 23: 115 (1928).
Cephalanthera rubra var. leucantha Bordz., Fl. RSS Ucr. 3: 349 (1950).
Cephalanthera rubra f. alba Raynaud, Orchid. Maroc: 93 (1985), no type indicated.
Cephalanthera rubra f. comosa (Tineo) Robatsch, Wulfenia 7: 104 (2000).
Description:
Rhizomatous perennial, 15-65 cm tall. Stem spindly and flexuous. Leaves 2-8, 5-14x 1-3cm, narrowly oval to lanceolate, longer than internodes, dark green with prominent veins. Inflorescence Lax, bracts leafy, upper bracts shorter than flowers. Flowers (3-)5-9(-15), slightly open (cf. C. damasonium), bright pink to deep purplish pink, perianth lobes acuminate; sepals ovate-lanceolate, 17-25 x 6-8 mm, pubescent on the outer surface, lateral sepals spread-ing, dorsal sepal curving over the petals. Petals subequal. Labellum 17-23 mm long, hypochile white with faint yellow veins, concave, lateral lobes often pink, erect, encircling column; epichile elongate, cordate, concave, white, with pink margins, with 7-15 yellow/ochre ridges; column purple. Ovary subsessile, linear, pubescent (details from Delforge, 1995).
Habitat:
In general, Cephalanthera rubra grows in shady places on crumbly humus-rich clay, loess or chalk soils, but it can sometimes be found in stony places in the sun (in which case the plants are small, 10-15 cm, and few-flowered). Habitats in which it can be found are drier deciduous and coniferous forests, among shrubs, on roadsides and embankments of roads, grassy slopes (there usually on the leeward side) or in partial shade at the edge of forests (e.g. Landwehr, 1977). Large colonies (presumably, at least in part, clonal) can form on alkaline sands under conifers on Gotland (Sweden) (Michael F. Fay, pers. obs.). In England, it has only been recorded from beechwoods on calcareous soils (Perring & Farrell, 1977).
Flowering Time:
June to July in England, depending on the site. Individual plants do not flower every season.
Distribution:
Europe to C. Asia
References:
The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2015.
Images:
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Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
cephalanthera rubra  cephalanthera rubra. closer  cephalanthera rubra. close up
 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission.