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Orchis mascula.
Orchis mâle.
Male orchid.

The male Orchis  is part of the genus Orchis largely amputated from many species now classified in the genera Anacamptis or Dactylorhiza. 

Orchis are bulbous orchids, usually have two which gave them their Greek name Orchis which means testicle. One of the bulbs allows the growth of the plant while the second is formed during this same period and will replace the gradually withered original bulb the following year. If we unearthed an orchid (which I proscribe of course), we would therefore find the bulb of the year more or less withered, the bulb in the making for the future season and sometimes an old bulb completely withered from the previous year. .

Orchis are fairly tall plants (20 to 60 cm), rather robust and easily spotted in meadows, wasteland or light undergrowth. The preferred terrains are generally limestone or marly and rather dry. 

The male orchid is medium in size, usually 15 to 30 cm, sometimes up to 50 cm. The stem is relatively thick, the leaves spread out on the ground and smudged (but not always and this will therefore not be a distinctive criterion). The flowers are brightly colored pink to purple with a white central part speckled with red. Generally, the numerous or few flowers are grouped together and touch each other. 

The male Orchis is found almost everywhere in France, mainly on limestone soils and up to 2000 meters, which makes it one of the most common orchids in our country. The plant likes cool meadows and hillsides. It flowers from April to the end of June depending on the region and the altitude.

Identification does not normally pose any problems, but several species previously considered to be simple variants of Orchis mascula have been described in recent years: Orchis ichnusae (only in Corsica), Orchis olbiensis (only around the Mediterranean), Orchis langei ( found in the Pyrenees) in particular. Given the very wide distribution of the male Orchis and possible variability, separating these latter species from the "mascula" species may prove to be very difficult. -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ 

Click on the photos to enlarge

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