Gymnadenia conopsea (NL:Grote muggenorchis / EN:Fragrant Orchid / DE: Mücken-Händelwurz / FR: Orchis moucheron) is an herbaceous plant belonging to the family Orchidaceae. The name of the genus Gymnadenia is formed from Greek words "gymnos" meaning "nude" and "adèn" meaning "gland" and refers to the characteristics of the organs for secreting nectar. The specific Latin name "conopsea" derives from the Greek "konops", literally means "like mosquito", probably because of the similarity of the long spur of the flower with the mouthparts of that insect. The inflorescence is 5–25 cm. long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense cylindrical spikes (up to 50 flowers per spike). The flowers are petiolated, placed in the axils of long bracts and reach on average 8–14 mm. They have a distinctive three lobed lip and long spurs. Their colors vary from pink to pink-purple, more rarely white. These flowers bloom in the Summer, from June to July. They are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects (entomophily), including moths. The seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
Image: Passo Gardena (IT) - 10/07/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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