John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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  Limodorum trabutianum


This species was first described by Battandier from  Mount Zaccar, Algeria in 1886 and was named after
the French botanist L. Trabut (1853 - 1929) . It is one of only two members of the genus Limodorum     although some experts do not accept its status as a full species, regarding it as either a sub species or     merely a variety.

It's distribution is not fully understood but was generally thought to be restricted to western areas with    significant populations in southern Spain, central Portugal and north Africa. Other colonies have however   been discovered in recent years  including outposts in southern France and Italy.  L. trabutianum is virtually  always found growing with L. abortivum and its for this reason that some authorities somewhat understanably  refuse to accept it as a full species.

Whether L. trabutianum should or shouldnt be viewed as a full species is a matter for debate but it is   nonetheless a morphologically distinct plant with several characteristic features. Where the two species   grow together and a comparison can be made, it is noticeable how much paler and more slender trabutianum   appears. The colouration is a light charcoal grey as opposed to the darker, mauvish tinge of abortivum. The   flowers themselves are smaller, upward pointing with only a short spur and with a much narrower, more   linnear lip. These flowers rarely open fully and in some populations (as pictured here) they don't open   beyond  the tip of the bud. They are therefore largely self pollinating and this factor contributes to the
perpetuation of a degenerate species/variety with a distinct appearance, similar in lifestyle to that of    Epipactis phyllanthes. The illustrations are from southern Spain and date from the 12th of April.