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Pictures of Orchids
by Pascal Decologne
Aveyron, Aude, Lozère, Côte d'Or, Jura Essonne, Seine et marne, Savoie, Sardinia

Space dedicated to enthusiasts of wild orchids in France :

The texts and photos of this site do not have a scientific or artistic pretension but aim to make better known the nature which surrounds us but which we sometimes know little about. All the photos are by the author of these lines and the engravings borrowed from old copyright-free works. 
If you have arrived on this space, you probably know that our countryside (and sometimes our cities) are home to wild orchids. Often so discreet that we can pass by them without noticing them and that the discovery of a single individual will leave us perplexed as to the identification of the species. It is better to discover a station (a group of several individuals) to confirm an identification.

In France, many species of orchids measure 10 to 15 cm in stem height with flowers less than one centimeter in size, you can easily pass by without seeing them.
We will be content to admire them, sometimes to photograph them but never to pick them because they are for the most part rare and fragile. Flowers in vases or herbariums are obsolete! And if they exceptionally invite themselves into our gardens, it will be on their initiative. No need to attempt a transplant, it will be doomed to failure in almost all cases.
To know them, to name them, is also to love them, I hope to share my passion with you or exchange with you because your passion is worth mine! A contact form is available. 
The presentation spaces are introduced by a short text relating to the species, its biotope, some discriminating elements as to identification. This will therefore not replace better documented guides , but in these books, the iconographic base is often reduced to 1 or 2 views which only partially correspond to your observations. The great variability of orchids cannot be synthesized with so few photos and I have often complained about this "indigence".  
The objective is therefore to illustrate each species with a broad photographic base, representing both the type species and also many variants. 
Identifying orchids is not a contest of the greatest number of ticks. You will sometimes come across amateurs who will swear to have seen all the species that you have yet to discover or to declare certain rare species common. Do not let this discourage you in your quest and remain humble before a disputed species: it is often a variety of the most common species or a dilemma that will not find an absolutely certain solution.
About sixty species of orchids will be presented: almost all the most common. Of the approximately 160 species in our territory, this will represent the majority or all of the discoveries you could make during a walk or over a season. The other species being either rare to very rare, or regional to very localized (and for some still absent from my inventory which certainly grows richer each year but still remains partial). For others, they are impossible to determine without the help of a few specialists. 
The descriptions are basic but I hope understandable and sufficient.
Orchids love to cheat on their people, so don't be surprised sometimes to come across one outside of its normal biotope, in an area where it's not supposed to thrive, growing at an unlisted altitude and flourishing outside of it. its normal flowering period!


Click on the photos to access the gallery of the species.


Cypripedium calceolus.
Sabot de Venus.
Lady's slipper.
Updated 09/2023.


Spiranthes spiralis.
Spiranthe d'automne.
Autumn lady's tresses.
Updated 09/2023.


Anacamptis longicornu.
Orchis à long éperon.
Long spurred orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Anacamptis pyramidalis.
Orchis pyramidal.
Pyramidal orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Orchis simia.
Orchis singe.
Monkey orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Orchis anthropophora.
Orchis homme pendu.
Man orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Traunsteinera globosa.
Orchis globuleux.
Globe orchid.

Updated 09/2023.


Gymnadenia corneliana.
Nigritelle rose/de Cornelia.

Updated 09/2023


Pseudorchis albida.
Orchis miel.
Small white orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Neottia nidus-avis.
Neottie nid d'oiseau.
Bird's nest orchid.

Updated 10/2023


Epipactis muelleri.
Epipactis de Müller.
Mueller's helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.

DC_1408 17 04 23 Low.jpg

Neotinea lactea.
Orchis lacté.
Milky orchid.
Updated 10/2023.

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Limodorum abortivum.
Limodore à feuilles avortées.
Violet limodore.
Updated 10/2023.


Dactylorhiza elata.
Orchis élevé.
Robust marsh orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Cephalanthera rubra.
Cephalanthère rouge.
Red helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.

Ophrys abeille. Ophrys apifera. Bee orch

Ophrys apifera.
Ophrys abeille.
Bee orchid.

Updated 12/2023.


Ophrys tenthredinifera. 
Ophrys guêpe.
Sawfly orchid
Updated 02/2024.

DC_2133 18 04 23 bis.jpg

Ophrys sphegodes/aranifera.
Ophrys araignée.
Early spider orchid
Updated 01/2024.


Ophrys araneola. Ophrys petite araignée.


Ophrys fusca.
Ophrys brun.
Dark bee orchid.

Updated 03/2024.


Ophrys aymoninii.
Ophrys d'Aymonin.
Fly orchid.

Updated 12/2023.


Serapias lingua.
Serapias en langue.
Tongue orchid.
Updated 09/2023.

Goodyera repens 09-2.JPG

Goodyera repens.
Goodyère rampante.
Creeping lady's tresses.
Updated  09/2023.

DC_CR5_7225 22 05 23-2.jpg

Anacamptis laxiflora.
Orchis à fleurs lâches.
Loose-flowered orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Orchis purpurea.
Orchis pourpre.
Purple orchid.
Updated 09/2023.

Orchis mascula 02.jpg

Orchis mascula.
Orchis mâle.
Male orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Himantoglossum hircinum.
Orchis bouc.
Lizard orchid.
Updated 09/2023.

Orchis moucheron 15-2-2.JPG

Gymnadenia conopsea.
Orchis moucheron.
Fragrant orchid.

Updated 09/2023


Platanthera chlorantha.
Platanthère verte.
Greater butterfly orchid.

Updated 09/2023.


Coeloglossum viride. (D viridis)
Orchis grenouille.
Frog orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Epipactis atrorubens.
Epipactis pourpre.
Dark red helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.


Epipactis palustris.
Epipactis des marais.
Marsh helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.

DC_1111 16 04 23-2.jpg

Neotinea maculata.
Orchis intact.
Dense flowered orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Dactylorhiza fuchsii.
Orchis de Fuchs.
Common spotted orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Dactylorhiza incarnata.
Orchis incarnat.
Early marsh orchid.

Updated 10/2023. 


Cephalanthera longifolia. Cephalanthère à longues feuilles. Sword leaved helleborine.
Updated 10/2023.


Ophrys fuciflora. 
Ophrys frelon.
Late spider orchid.

Updated 12/2023


Ophrys aveyronensis. 
Ophrys de l'Aveyron.

Updated 02/2024. 


Ophrys massiliensis.
Ophrys de Marseille.
Early spider orchid
Updated 12/2023


Ophrys lutea.
Ophrys jaune.
Yellow bee orchid.

Updated 01/2024.


Pseudophrys non déterminés

DC_0U1A1687 17 04 23-2.jpg

Ophrys speculum.
Ophrys miroir.
Mirror orchid.

Updated 12/2023

DC_5522 21 04 23-4.jpg

Serapias parviflora.
Serapias à petites fleurs.
Small flower tongue orchid.
Updated 09/2023.

Anacamptis morio 04-3.JPG

Anacamptis morio.
Orchis bouffon.
Green winged orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Anacamptis papilionacea.
Orchis papillon.
Pink butterfly orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Orchis militaris.
Orchis militaire.
Military orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Orchis provincialis.
Orchis de Provence.
Provence orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Himantoglossum robertianum.
Barlie de Robert.
Giant orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Gymnadenia rhellicani.
Orchis vanille.

Updated 09/2023


Platanthera bifolia.
Platanthère à deux feuilles.

Lesser butterfly orchid.
Updated 09/2023.


Neottia ovata.
Listère ovale.
Common twayblade.

Updated 10/2023.

CR5_5102 DPP low.jpg

Epipactis helleborine.
Epipactis à larges feuilles.
Broad leaved helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.

CR5_6796 2023-07-20 Meth A-2.jpg

Epipactis purpurata.
Epipactis pourpre.
Violet helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.


Neotinea ustulata.
Orchis brûlé.
Burnt orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Dactylorhiza maculata.
Orchis maculé/tacheté.
Heath spotted orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Dactylorhiza sambucina.
Orchis sureau.
Elder flowered orchid.

Updated 10/2023.


Cephalanthera damasonium. 
Cephalanthère blanche.
Large white helleborine.

Updated 10/2023.


Ophrys scolopax. 
Ophrys bécasse.
Woodcock orchid.

Updated 12/2023

Ophrys sphegodes 15-2.jpg

Ophrys sphegodes/aranifera.
Ophrys araignée.
Early spider orchid
Updated 01/2024.


Ophrys passionis/caloptera. Ophrys de la passion. 


Ophrys lupercalis. Ophrys des lupercales. Dark bee orchid. 

Ophrys insectifera 26-2.JPG

Ophrys insectifera.
Ophrys mouche.
Fly orchid.

Updated 12/2023.

DC_7462 23 04 23-2.jpg

Ophrys bombyliflora.
Ophrys bombyx.
Bumble bee orchid.

Updated 12/2023

The diversity of flowers in orchids:
one species, multiple aspects that can be confusing.

The Lousy Bush Ophrys

Ophrys aranifera. At a place called "Le Buisson Pouilleux" (Essonne). On approximately 200 m2, an inventory of Spider Ophrys photographed over 2 days shows the diversity of flowers of this species. certain morphological differences and it is nevertheless good  the case in the current state of our knowledge. 

These variations are frequent in orchids and do not facilitate their identification when they do not lead to the multiplication of species for certain specialists.

It is thus necessary to know to keep reason when one discovers an atypical orchid and not to imagine that it is about a new species in order not to multiply the taxa unnecessarily. A species is generally created from the geographic isolation of an orchid population. Over the millennia, certain characters will diverge and isolation will lead to an exacerbation of some of them: the size, the color, the shape of the labellum in particular. It can also be an adaptation to the environment with a more or less humid, more or less acidic biotope compared to the original species. The flowering dates also shift...

A species will also reinforce its own characteristics if the pollinating insect(s) are unique and will not visit other orchid species. There will therefore be no hybridization and the characteristics  will therefore develop more easily and quickly. 

 Herbariums and Old illustrations:
Before photography and whyoi not today also as an alternative, illustrations are the first tools of naturalists. Following my own photographs, you will find some old illustrations from the 16th century to the first half of the 20th century. Among the oldest representations, it will sometimes be very complicated to recWe can see in these naive and approximate drawings for some, our orchids as we know them. Unfortunately, it is just as complicated to search in herbaria for a way to identify our discoveries.
Among the significant works or the most representative illustrators of European terrestrial orchids, let us cite:
Franz Bauer (1758-1840). Austrian but having worked at the royal botanical gardens of Kew Garden.
- Illustrated flora of Nice and the Maritime Alps (1868) by
Jean Baptiste Barla (1817-1896).
- Iconography of orchids from Europe and the Mediterranean basin (1929) by
Edmond Camus (1852-1915).
Claus Caspari (1911-1980), German illustrator. 
Jacobus Landwehr (1911-1996): Dutch author and illustrator of the 2-volume work Orchids of Europe (1977). 
Eliza Klopfenstein (1921-2018): Belgian illustrator.


Free illustration photos of orchids: The photographs presented are not downloadable but as they are not for sale either, I can provide files on request and free of charge. Tell me the desired views, the required definition and the use you want to make beforehand.

This site is a work in progress and will benefit from frequent updates.
Be indulgent ou demandants and don't hesitate to let me know about display problems on tablets in particular, the site is in principle designed to be displayed on PCs and tablets.

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