|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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This species was first described by Barneoud from Var, France in 1843 and is named in honour of the
eminent 19th century French botanist A. B. Champagneux.
A. champagneuxii is a member of the varied A. morio group which until recently had been considered
a family within the Orchis genus. It falls within a sub-group that comprises three other very similar
taxons, A. morio itself, A. picta and A. longicornu all of which can be found in the Iberian peninsula
and/or neighbouring island groups. Given these overlapping ranges and the groups propensity for gene
sharing, identification can sometimes prove difficult.
A. champagneuxii does however possess some characteristic features which help distinguish it from
close relatives and perhaps the most obvious of these is the spur, which as can be seen very well in the
first picture, is stout, upward pointing and tails off to a hammer like, bi-lobed tip. The second easily
noted feature is the lip which is usually totally unmarked, with a distinctive pure white central area.
For the sake of completeness it should be mentioned that there is a rare variety (mesomelana) that
does exhibit some spotting to the centre.
This species is known to occur from southern France and throughout the Iberian peninsula, together
with the Balearics and an unusual outpost in Malta. It tolerates a variety of soils and conditions but
despite this and although not being particularly scarce, it is highly localised. The pictures are from
Malaga province in Spain and date from th middle if April.