Nigritella rhellicani (syn: Gymnadenia rhellicani, Nigritella nigra subsp. rhellicani) (NL: "Zwarte Vanilleorchis" / EN: ? / DE: Gewöhnliche Kohlröschen / FR: Nigritelle de Relikon, Orchis vanille) is a species of European terrestrial Orchid. In the Italian Dolomites two "black" Nigritella's can be found: N. rhellicani (this image) and N. austriaca see image posted on 29 aug 2011 ). The two are very similar in appearance, so a really close look is needed for proper determination. The plant height of both species is 15 (10-20 cm). The flowers of N.rhellicani are a little darker and therefore slightly more blackish. The inflorescence is longer than N.austriaca,almost always higher than broader. Typically is the the strong scent of chocolate / vanilla. The flowers are also slightly smaller (lip: 5-7 mm) than those of N. austriaca (lip: 7,5-9,6 mm). A good magnifying glass is needed to make the difference at the edge of the lower bracts visible: In N. rhellicani this often carries a seam of 0.05-0.1 mm long papillae while on N. austriaca the edge is smooth or bumpy, filled with more than a few very short papillae. N.austriaca blooms at the same location approximately 8-10 days before N.Rhellicani.
Image: Passo Gardena (IT) - 10/07/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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