John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Gymnadenia species Links

Gymnadenia corneliana var bourneriasii
 

This variety was first described by Breiner and Breiner from south east France and subsequently reclassified as G. corneliana v bourneriasii by Pellic in 2005. It is named in honour of the eminent French botanist Marcel Bournerias who died in 2010.

Variety bourneriasii is significantly less common than type and although always found growing within colonies of G. corneliana, can be completely absent from some of the latters strongholds, even where it may grow in its hundreds. Its range is confined to the western Alps and is at its most frequent in the south east of France from the Chartreuse Mountains north of Grenoble eastwards to the border and into western Italy where it becomes much less common.

It typically exhibits an elongated, hemispherical inflorescence of medium sized flowers, the perianth of which is connivent, forming an open central tube into which can be seen the pale coloured reproductive organs. In this respect it is similar to the Italian endemic, G. dolomitensis. In G. corneliana the inflorescence is light pink at the bottom, darkening to a vivid red at the top whereas with bourneriasii the flower head is of uniform colouration and although somewhat variable, this is usually the deep red exhibited at the top of the type species.

G. corneliana v bourneriassi prefers grazed alpine grassland up to an altitude of 2500 metres and has a long flowering period that commences in late June and runs through into August at higher elevations. The pictures come from the Allevard region of south eastern France, dating from the first week of July.