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


This species is a member of the  A. morio  group whose name somewhat obscurely means ornate,  it was
first   described from Var in 1827 and for many years was regarded as a subspecies of A. morio.

The A. picta type has several distinct features which set it apart from A. morio but unfortunately finding a   typical specimen is far from easy and identification is often determined purely on the balance of   probabilities.  The following characteristics are normally accepted as being indicative :-  1.  the plant is   generally shorter and more spindly than A. morio.  2.  the inflorescence is more pyramidal and lax,  3. the lip   is less recurved and gives a more spreading, fan like appearance.  4.  flower colouration usually darker and   less  often  occurs in pale pink or white.  5.  seems far more tolerant of calcareous  soils  whereas   A.morio favours neutral substrates.  6.  The spur is finer and more upward pointing.

None of the illustrations could be described as particularly typical though if you combined the structure of   the plant in photo 2 with the colouration of 4 you would be getting close ! A. picta is certainly polytypical   and probably heterogenus with populations varying from each other to a degree that must bring into question   the reliability of its species status and also its relationship to A. morio.

Its range is extensive,  though poorly established due to the identification  difficulties  mentioned above.  It   is absent from Britain and Northern Europe but may well replace A. morio in more southerly areas.

The pictures are from
Italy (Cilento National Park) and Lesbos.







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