Orchis brancifortii (NL: - / EN: Branciforti’s Orchid / DE: Brancifortis Knabenkraut / FR: Orchis de Brancifortis) is a species of orchid endemic to eastern Sardinia, nothern Sicily, and southern Italy. With a height of only 10 to 25 cm, Orchis brancifortii is a small and slender plant. The stem is growing out of a rosette of 2 to 4 foliage leaves, which are unspotted. 1 or 2 leaves sheath the lower part of the stem. The cylindrical inflorescence has 7 to 25 flowers. The spur is almost as long as the ovary, very thin and horizontally spreaded or bent downwards. The ovary is sheathed by a small bract. Only the two petals form a little hood. The rounded sepals are spreaded horizontally and upwards. The three-lobed labellum is smaller than the sepals. The two pollinia have their own sticky plates; but details of pollination are still unknown. Orchis brancifortii is named after the Sicilian prince Ercole Michele Branciforti who has supported the discoverer of the plant, Antonius de Bivona-Bernardi (1774-1834). He first described the species in his opus Stirpium Rariorum minusque Cognitorum in Sicilia Sponte Provenientium Descriptiones nonnullis Iconibus Auctae Manipuls (4, 1816). Orchis brancifortii is growing on rough and stony grounds, up to 1300 m. Bloom is from April to May.
Image: Borgetto (IT-SI) - 13/04/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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