|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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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.