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.
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.
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.
- 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