John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Anacamptis papilionacea

The A. papilionacea group is a small and highly distinct collection of orchids that are not easily mistaken for any other. It consists of just three species, A. papilionacea itself,
A. cyrenica and A.collina, all of which share a family resemblance and configuration but which are readily distinguishable from one another.

The A. papilionacea grouping is considered polymorphic and as such, formal recognition of forms and varieties becomes a somewhat arbitrary process. Differences within the species largely occur in relation to flower size and pattern,  occasionally colour can also be a factor but there are however too many exceptions and regional anomalies to give completely definitive descriptions.

A. papilionacea
is an extremely widespread species with a range from the fringes of the Alps in the north, to North Africa in the south and from Spain in the west to the Caspian in the east. It can often be abundant in its favoured locations. The lip and the hood are vaguely concolourous and this is an important aid to identification, particularly when differentiating from  A.papilionacea v.rubra  with its distinctly darker hood. Lip striation can vary from strong to virtually non existent and overall colouration may vary from mauve to brick red. In the plants pictured here, the mauve examples come from Southern Spain and the red from Var in Southern France. The overall inflorescence can appear dense when young but this gradually becomes lax with age.

The pictures date from early April and A. papilionacea will usually flower through to the end of May.