Man orchid

Man orchid

The Man orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) is the only species of the monotypic orchid genus Aceras, although this is often placed within the closely related genus Orchis, when the species is known as Orchis anthropophora. Its common name arises from the resemblance of its flowers to a man, whose head is formed by the petals and sepals, and the suspended torso and limbs by the lobes of the labellum.

Description

The man orchid is a herbaceous perennial, growing to a height of between 20 and 40 cm. A basal rosette of 5 cm lanceolate leaves develops from a tuber of up 6 cm diameter, and between April and June a central flower spike is produced bearing up to fifty small, stemless flowers – the flowers vary from greenish with a yellow-green labellum to green streaked and marked with purple.

Habitat

The man orchid favours moderately sunny meadows on dry to well-drained, often calcareous soil. It is to be found around the Mediterranean area, and in central and western Europe as far north as southern England. It also grows in alpine areas, though not at high altitude.

Synonyms

  • Aceras anthropomorpha (Pers.) Steud. 1840
  • Aceras anthropophorum (L.) Sm. 1818
  • Arachnites anthropophora F.W. Schmidt 1793
  • Loroglossum anthropophorum (L.) Rich. 1818
  • Loroglossum brachyglotte Rich. 1818
  • Ophrys anthropophora L. 1753
  • Orchis anthropophora All. 1785
  • Satyrium anthropomorpha Pers. 1807
  • Satyrium anthropophora Pers. 1807
  • Serapias anthropophora (L.) J. Jundz. 1791

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