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Classification System: APG IV

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

Familia: Orchidaceae
Subfamilia: Orchidoideae
Tribus: Orchideae
Subtribus: Orchidinae
Genus: Serapias
Species: Serapias vomeracea

Serapias vomeracea (Burm.f.) Briq., Prodr. Fl. Corse 1: 378 (1910)

Orchis vomeracea Burm.f., Nova Acta Phys.-Med. Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur. 4(App.): 237 (1770)
Serapiastrum vomeraceum (Burm.f.) Schinz & Thell., Vierteljahrsschr. Naturf. Ges. Zürich 58: 49 (1913)
Serapias cordigera subsp. vomeracea (Burm.f. H.Sund., Europ. Medit. Orchid., ed. 3: 39 (1980)
Serapias vomeracea f. stenopetala Vierh., Oesterr. Bot. Z. 66: 158 (1916), nom. inval.
Orchis lingua All., Fl. Pedem. 2: 148 (1785), nom. illeg.
Serapias cordigera var. longipetala Bertol., Pl. Gen.: 126 (1804)
Helleborine longipetala Ten., Fl. Napol., Prodr.: 53 (1811)
Helleborine pseudocordigera Sebast., Roman. Pl. Fasc. Prim. 1: 14 (1813)
Serapias hirsuta Lapeyr., Hist. Pl. Pyrénées: 551 (1813)
Serapias pseudocordigera (Sebast.) Moric., Fl. Venet.: 374 (1820)
Serapias lancifera St.-Amans, Fl. Agen.: 378 (1821)
Serapias longipetala (Ten.) Pollini, Fl. Veron. 3: 30 (1824)
Lonchitis longipetala Bubani, Fl. Pyren. 4: 52 (1901)
Serapiastrum longipetalum (Ten.) A.A.Eaton, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 21: 67 (1908)
Serapias vomeracea lusus heldreichii Soó, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 24: 33 (1927)
Serapias vomeracea subsp. flava Balayer, Bull. Soc. Bot. France, Lett. Bot. 133: 280 (1986)
Serapias vomeracea subsp. longipetala (Ten.) H.Baumann & Künkele, Mitt. Arbeitskreis Heimische Orchid. Baden-Württemberg 21: 796 (1989)
Serapias vomeracea var. longipetala (Ten.) Kreutz, Die Orchidee (Hamburg) 57: 104 (2006)
Serapias vomeracea subsp. guadarramica Kreutz, Ber. Arbeitskreis. Heimische Orchid. 27: 209 (2010 publ. 2011)

Native distribution areas:

Middle Europe
Southwestern Europe
Corse, France, Sardegna, Spain.
Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia.
Northern Africa
Algeria, Libya, Morocco.
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus.
Western Asia
Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Lebanon-Syria, Palestine, Turkey.

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

Primary references

Briquet, J.I. 1910. Prodrome de la Flore Corse 1: 378.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Serapias vomeracea in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 30. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Serapias vomeracea in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 30. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2018. Serapias vomeracea. Published online. Accessed: 30 November 2018.
The Plant List 2013. Serapias vomeracea in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 30. 2018. Serapias vomeracea. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 30.

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Pflugschar-Zungenstendel
English: Long-lipped Serapias
español: Serapias de labio alargado
français: Sérapias à labelle allongé
italiano: Serapide maggiore
Nederlands: Lange tongorchis
русский: Серапиас сошниковый
Türkçe: Sağırkulağı

Serapias vomeracea, common name long-lipped serapias or the plow-share serapias, is a species of orchid in the genus Serapias


The name Serapias of the genus derives from the Greek Sarapis, the Graeco-Egyptian god, already used in ancient times to name some orchids. The Latin name vomeracea of this species refers to the shape of the apical portion of the labellum (epichile) reminiscent of a ploughshare.
Close-up on a flowers of Serapias vomeracea

Serapias vomeracea is an herbaceous perennial plant with two ovoidal underground tubers. This species is highly variable in color and shape. It reaches a height of 20–40 centimetres (7.9–15.7 in), with a maximum of 60 centimetres (24 in). The stem is green, with two membranous basal leaves and 6-8 upper leaves, lanceolate and glossy green or reddish.

The inflorescence is composed by a narrow and elongated spike, with three to ten flowers. The relevant bracts are lanceolate and much longer than the tepals. Their color is red-purple, with darker longitudinal venation. The outer tepals are lanceolate and erect, forming an helmet-like structure. Their color is purple-red or pinkish, with veins of darker color. The internal lateral tepals are brownish-purple and almost entirely hidden by the helmet.

The labellum is brick red, trilobed and larger than the other tepals. The basal portion (hypochile) of the labellum is concave and enclosed in the helmet, with two raised and hairy lateral lobes. The apical portion of the labellum (epichile) is triangular-lanceolate, usually purple-red and quite hairy. The spur is missing. The flowering period extends from March to June.

Serapias vomeracea is an entomophilous plant, but cannot offer floral rewards to pollinators as it does not produce nectar. Therefore, pollinators are just attracted by the shape of the flower, forming a small tube used by insects to rest by night or as a refuge against the rain. In this process pollen gets stuck to the pollinators' bodies. Once they leave their shelter, they will deposit the pollen on other flowers and fertilize them. These orchids are mainly pollinated by some beetles (families Oedemeridae and Lymexylidae) and by bees (genera Ceratina, Eucera and Osmia). Seeds are dispersed by the wind (anemochory).

Serapias vomeracea (Burm. f.) Briq. subsp. vomeracea
Serapias vomeracea (Burm. f.) Briq. subsp. longipetala (Ten.) H. Baumann & Künkele
Serapias vomeracea (Burm. f.) Briq. subsp. laxiflora (Soó) Gölz & H.R. Reinhard


The species has a Mediterranean- Atlantic distribution from Charente in the north and is widespread from south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin to Cyprus.[1]
This orchid prefers dry and wet meadows, pastures, thickets, clearings and scrubland, frequently on clayey substrate, from full light to partial shade, at an altitude of 0–1,200 metres (0–3,937 ft) above sea level.


Delforge, Pierre (2005). Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East (3rd ed.). London: A&C Black. p. 640. ISBN 0-7136-7525-X.

G. Pellegrino, D. Gargano, M. E. Noce, A. Musacchio - Reproductive biology and pollinator limitation in a deceptive orchid, Serapias vomeracea (Orchidaceae) - Plant Species Biology - Volume 20, Issue 1, pages 33–39, April 2005
Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia (3 voll.) - Edagricole – 1982, Vol. III
Tutin, T.G. et al. - Flora Europaea, second edition - 1993

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