Anacamptis pyramidalis, Cyprus, Photo: Augusta Stylianou Artist
Anacamptis pyramidalis (L.) Rich.
The Pyramidal Orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, is an orchid 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.
The dried and ground tuber gives a fine white powder, called salep. This is a very nutritious sweet starchlike substance. It is used in drinks, cereals and in making bread. It is also used medicinally in diets for children and convalescents.
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) Kreutz – Maltese Pyramidal Orchid
* 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 Pyramid Orchid's range; its flowers are white.
1. ^ Darwin 1862, pp. 20–24, 37
* 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, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=text&itemID=F800&pageseq=1, retrieved 2009-07-30
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License