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Orchis simia.
Orchis singe.
Monkey orchid.

The Orchis monkey  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 chalky or marly and rather dry._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d

The lateral sepals and petals are joined together to form a "helmet" while the central petal (labellum) offers a fairly complex and variable shape from one species to another. Three Orchis are quite similar morphologically and "coloristically" : Orchis militaris (Military Orchis), Orchis purpurea (Purple Orchis) and Orchis simia (Monkey Orchis). Hybridizations are therefore possible which will not allow a certain identification.

From a distance, it may be confused with the military Orchis, but its flowers have a particular, very jagged labellum which is likened to a human or ape-like form: des long, thin arms and legs and sex during. Its helmet and labellum are strongly tinged with white but the "limbs" are colored. 

Particularity: it is one of the rare orchids to start flowering from the top of the inflorescence. Finally, it is its reputation because most often, it is the whole inflorescence which flowers at the same time: it is therefore necessary to be there at the right time to see its flowers (from the end of April to mid-June)._cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

Sometimes hybridizing with Orchis militaris or Orchis purpurea, it is especially with Orchis anthropophora that we will find original shapes and colors. As the two species have a similar labellum in shape, it is above all precisely the colorations that make these hybrids interesting.

Click on the photos to enlarge

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