AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Platanthera bifolia (L.) Rich., De Orchid. Eur.: 35 (1817).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Orchis bifolia L., Sp. Pl.: 939 (1753).
Orchis alba Lam., Fl. Franç., ed. 2, 3: 502 (1795), nom. superfl.
Lysias bifolia (L.) Salisb., Trans. Hort. Soc. London 1: 288 (1812).
Habenaria bifolia (L.) R.Br. in W.T.Aiton, Hortus Kew. 5: 193 (1813).
Sieberia bifolia (L.) Spreng., Anleit. Kenntn. Gew., ed. 2, 2(1): 282 (1817).
Satyrium bifolium (L.) Wahlenb., Fl. Suec. 2: 579 (1826).
Gymnadenia bifolia (L.) G.Mey., Chloris Han.: 540 (1836).
Conopsidium stenantherum Wallr., Linnaea 14: 147 (1840), nom. superfl.
Orchis stenanthera E.H.L.Krause in J.Sturm, Deutschl. Fl. Abbild., ed. 2, 4: 52 (1905), nom. superfl.
Description:
Plants 28-42 cm tall. Rootstock tuberous, ovoid-fusiform, tapering at base, 2.5-3 × 0.8-1.4 cm. Stem erect, with 1 or 2 tubular sheaths at base, 2-leaved. Leaves basal, subopposite, spatulate-elliptic, oblong, or elliptic, 9-12 × 1.8-3.5 cm, gradually contracted at base, apex obtuse. Peduncle slender to robust, with 2-4 scattered, lanceolate bracts; rachis 9-19 cm, laxly to subdensely 7-17-flowered; floral bracts lanceolate, 15-20 mm, basal ones exceeding ovary. Flowers fragrant, white, greenish white, or green; pedicel and ovary arcuate, cylindric, 14-15 mm. Dorsal sepal erect and forming a hood with petals, ovate to broadly ovate, cymbiform, 5.5-6 × 4-4.5 mm, glabrous, apex obtuse; lateral sepals spreading, ovate-lanceolate, oblique, 6-7 × 3.5-4 mm, glabrous, apex subacute. Petals linear-lanceolate, oblique, 5.5-6 × ca. 1 mm, apex acute; lip spreading, ligulate, 9-10 × 1-1.5 mm, thickened, entire, apex obtuse; spur pendulous, cylindric, slender, 20-25 × 1.5-1.8 mm, apex subacute. Column stout; staminodes conspicuous; anther locules slightly divergent; pollinia ellipsoid, with long caudicles and suborbicular viscidia; rostellum belt-shaped; stigma lobes confluent, concave, lying directly below rostellum.
Habitat:
Forests on slopes, damp meadows; 200-2800 m..
Flower time:
Jul-Aug, fr. Aug-Sep.
Note:
The Chinese plants do not differ significantly from the widespread Eurasian Platanthera bifolia. Its sister and equally widespread species, P. chlorantha, is also found in China. The distinctness of P. metabifolia, originally described from Japan, is questionable once the full range of variation in P. bifolia is considered.
Distribution:
Europe, Medit. to Mongolia
References:
?
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
platanthera bifolia  platanthera bifolia. closer  platanthera bifolia. 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.