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Anacamptis pyramidalis

Anacamptis pyramidalis, Cyprus, Photo:  Augusta Stylianou Artist

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Orchidaceae
Subfamilia: Orchidoideae
Tribus: Orchideae
Subtribus: Orchidinae
Genus: Anacamptis
Sectio: Anacamptis sect. Anacamptis
Species: Anacamptis pyramidalis
Varietates: (3)
A. p. var. dunensis – A. p. var. pyramidalis – A. p. var. urvilleana

Anacamptis pyramidalis (L.) Rich., De Orchid. Eur.: 33 (1817)

Type species:


Orchis pyramidalis L., Sp. Pl.: 940 (1753)
Aceras pyramidale (L.) Rchb.f. in H.G.L.Reichenbach, Icon. Fl. Germ. Helv. 13–14: 6 (1850)

Native distribution areas:

Northern Europe
Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden.
Middle Europe
Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland.
Southwestern Europe
Baleares, Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain.
Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Romania, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia.
Eastern Europe
Baltic States, Krym, Ukraine.
Northern Africa
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia.
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus.
Western Asia
Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon-Syria, Palestine, Turkey.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Richard, L.C.M. 1817. De Orchideis Europaeis Annotationes 33. Preprint from Richard, L.C.M. (1818) Mémoires du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle 4: 55.

Additional references

Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) 2005. Flora Iberica 21: 1–366. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
Curtis, T. & Thompson, R. 2009. The orchids of Ireland: 1–160. National Museums of Northern Ireland, Cultra, Holywood.
Dobignard, A. 2009. Contributions à la connaissance de la flore du Maroc et de l'Afrique du Nord. Nouvelle série. 2. La flore du Nord-Maroc. Journal de Botanique de la Société Botanique de France 46–47: 3–136. Reference page.
Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. 2010. Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du Nord. Volume 1: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Monocotyledoneae. Conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève, ISBN 978-2-8277-0120-9, 455 pp. PDF Reference page.
G.I.R.O.S. (ed.) 2009. Orchidee d'Italia: 1–303. Il Castello srl, Italy.
Hassler, M. 2012. Flora of Rhodes. Systematic list of flora of Rhodes. Accessed 10 July 2013.
Kretzschmar, H., Eccarius, W. & Dietrich, H. 2007. The Orchid Genera Anacamptis, Orchis and Neotinea. Phylogeny, taxonomy, morphology, biology, distribution, ecology and hybridisation. ed. 2: 1–544. EchinoMedia verlag, Bürgel.
Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.W. & Rasmussen, F.N. (eds.) 2001. Genera Orchidacearum Volume 2: Orchidoideae (Part one); page 249 ff., Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850710-0
Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) 2006. Konspekt flory Kavkaza. Caucasian Flora Conspectus. Volume II [Liliospida]. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae. 466 pp. ISBN 5-288-04040-0. DJVU Reference page.
Vázquez Pardo, F.M. 2009- Revisión de la familia Orchidaceae en Extremadura (España). Folia Botanica Extremadurensis 3: 1–367.


Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2022. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset. Taxon: Anacamptis pyramidalis. Accessed: 2022 Sep 19.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Anacamptis pyramidalis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Sep 19. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Anacamptis pyramidalis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Sep 19. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Anacamptis pyramidalis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Sep 19. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Anacamptis pyramidalis. Published online. Accessed: 19 Sep 2022. 2022. Anacamptis pyramidalis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 19 Sep 2022.

Vernacular names

azərbaycanca: Piramidvari bağ səhləbi
български: Обикновен анакамптис
català: Barretet piramidal
čeština: Rudohlávek jehlancovitý
Cymraeg: Tegeirian bera
dansk: Horndrager
Deutsch: Pyramiden-Hundswurz

Ελληνικά: Ανακάμπτιδα η πυραμιδοειδή

English: Pyramidal orchid
español: Orquídea piramidal
eesti: Püramiid-koerakäpp
suomi: Kartiokalkkikämmekkä
français: Orchis pyramidal
עברית: בן-סחלב צריפי
hornjoserbsce: Pyramidowa wótromudka
magyar: Vitézvirág
italiano: Orchidea piramidale
Nederlands: Hondskruid, Hondskruid
ирон: Сырхсæрдидин
polski: Koślaczek stożkowaty
português: Satirião-menor
русский: Анакамптис пирамидальный
slovenščina: Piramidasti pilovec
svenska: Salepsrot
Türkçe: Sivri salep
українська: Анакамптис пірамідальний

Anacamptis pyramidalis, the pyramidal orchid,[1] is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the genus Anacamptis of the family Orchidaceae. The scientific name Anacamptis derives from Greek ανακάμτειν 'anakamptein' meaning 'bend forward', while the Latin name pyramidalis refers to the pyramidal form of the inflorescence.

Charles Darwin's book Fertilisation of Orchids included an illustration of the head of a moth with its proboscis laden with several pairs of pollinia from Orchis pyramidalis

This hardy plant reaches on average 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) of height, with a maximum of 60 centimetres (24 in). The stem is erect and unbranched. The basal leaves are linear-lanceolate with parallel venation, up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long, the cauline ones are shorter and barely visible on the stem. The arrangement of hermaphroditic flowers in a compact pyramidal shape is very distinctive and gives the orchid its common name. The colour of the flower varies from pink to purple, or rarely white, and the scent is described as "foxy". The flowers have six tepals, being three small sepals and three petals. Two small petals are on the sides, while the third and lower (labellum) is large and trilobate. At the back of the flower there is a tubular spur of about 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in) long, while the labellum bears two lateral small flaps. The flowering period extends from April through July.
Habitat and distribution

Anacamptis pyramidalis requires a sunny spot on diverse soils: loamy or clay. It can even grow on very alkaline soil. It can be found on meadows, in grassland, sand dunes, maquis as well as dry and well exposed slopes, at an altitude of 0–1,600 metres or more (0–5,250 ft approx.) above sea level.[2][3]

In the UK, Anacamptis pyramidalis is one of the most successful orchid species on roadside verges, and colonises other disturbed habitats like airfields, quarries and reservoirs.[4]

This orchid is native to southwestern Eurasia, from western Europe through the Mediterranean region eastwards to Iran. In Germany, it is rare and was declared Orchid of the Year in 1990 to heighten awareness of this plant. This orchid is especially common on the Isle of Wight in the South of England, and was designated the county plant in 2008. On the Isle of Wight, it favours growth in chalky or sandstone-rich soil,[5] and thus can easily be found on the Downland and cliffs to the west and south of the island.[6][7]

The flowers are pollinated by butterflies and moths. To ensure the fertilization, their morphology is well adapted to the proboscis of Lepidoptera, especially Euphydryas, Melanargia, Melitaea, Pieris and Zygaena species. The mechanism by which its pairs of pollinia attach themselves to an insect's proboscis was discovered by Charles Darwin and described in his book on the Fertilisation of Orchids.[8]

Anacamptis pyramidalis has been suggested to form mycorrhizal relationships with Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Papulaspora species.[9][10]

There are some notable varieties, which are sometimes treated as subspecies – and as they seem to be limited to certain regions, this may be correct:

Anacamptis pyramidalis var. tanayensis (Chenevard) Soó in Keller – Tanay Pyramidal Orchid - Flowers darker and smaller. Fribourg and Valais cantons (Switzerland).
Anacamptis pyramidalis var. urvilleana (Sommier & Caruana Gatto) Schlechter – Maltese Pyramidal Orchid, an endemic orchid from Malta with smaller and paler flowers flowering 4–6 weeks before Anacamptis pyramidalis.[11]
Anacamptis pyramidalis var. sanguinea (Druce) Kreutz – Western Irish Pyramidal Orchid. -Inflorescence rounder, plant smaller overall. County Galway to County Kerry (Ireland)

The variety alba can be found anywhere in the Pyramidal Orchid's range; its flowers are white.
Medicinal uses

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The dried and ground tuber (from various species of Orchis and Anacamptis) can be made into a fine white powder, called salep. This is a very nutritious sweet starchlike substance. It is used in drinks, cereals and in making bread. In Turkey it is used in ice-creams.[12] It was also used medicinally in diets for children and convalescents.

The pyramidal orchid was voted the County flower of the Isle of Wight in 2002 following a poll by the wild flora conservation charity Plantlife.[13]

BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
Pakistan Journal of Botany - Studies on the morphology, anatomy and ecology of Anacamptis pyramidalis (L.) in Turkey
Plants for a Future - Anacamptis pyramidalis
Plant Life - Pyramidal Orchid
"Pyramidal orchid". Plantlife. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
"Isle of Wight Downs IPA". Plantlife. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
"Isle of Wight Biodiversity Action Plan, Maritime Cliffs and Slopes Habitat Action Plan" (PDF). December 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
Darwin 1862, pp. 20–24, 37
Applied ecology and environmental research - In Vitro Symbiotic Germination Potentials of Some Anacamptis, Dactylorhiza, Orchis and Ophrys Terrestrial Orchid Species
Turkish Journal of Botany - Diversity of endophytic fungi from various Aegean and Mediterranean orchids (saleps)
Mifsud, Stephen (2016). "Taxonomic notes on Anacamptis pyramidalis var. urvilleana (Orchidaceae), a good endemic orchid from Malta". Journal Europäischer Orchideen. 48 (1): 19–28.
Eng Soon Teoh Orchids as Aphrodisiac, Medicine or Food (2019), p. 46, at Google Books

Plantlife website County Flowers page Archived 2015-04-30 at the Wayback Machine

Darwin, Charles (1862), On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing, London: John Murray, retrieved 2009-07-30

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