Plant Profiles Pyramidal Orchid

Orchids are an incredibly divers and often brilliantly colored flowering plant. Orchids typically require the right conditions before they will grow and may spread sporadically or in large numbers across a good habitat. One interesting species of orchid is the pyramidal orchid (anacamptis pyramidalis) as it is known for its distinctive look and can be easily spotted even among tall grasses.

Pyramidal orchid – (picture link)             

The pyramidal orchid is usually rather short short at less than 12 inches in height but can reach a maximum height of two feet. It has green leaves at the base that are about 10 inches long but the leaves higher in the stem are smaller and difficult to distinguish as they tend to hug the stem.

The pyramidal orchid can be easily identified because of its flower arrangement at the top of its stem. This arrangement is compacted together and takes the shape of a pyramid or cone of flowers coming off spikes attacked to the stem. The bright flowers it has are also easy to spot and can range from pink to purple and in rare instances can be white. Typical flowering period ranges from April to mid-June, mid-July, or even August in some areas.

Growing conditions

The pyramidal orchid prefers drained soils that contain limestone. The orchid also can be found in clay or sand soils and has bee known to survive in highly basic (alkaline) soils as well. Some places to find it are in chalky soils in grasslands, meadows, pastures, rocky slopes, and sand dunes or other exposed slopes. The spread of the orchid is typically scattered and sporadic among the area that is its habitat.

It also prefers sunny areas or direct sunlight. Areas along the road can be ideal places as well because of the churned and exposed soil due to roadwork. The pyramidal orchid grows in most of Europe and down into the Mediterranean region as well as into parts of the Middle East. Typically the flower does not inhabit areas 6600 feet or higher above sea level.

Types and pollination

There are four other types/varieties of this orchid which are sometimes considered subspecies. The differences between these orchids are the coloring of the flowers. These include the Tanay, Maltese, Alba, and Western Irish pyramidal orchids. This orchid is pollinated mainly by butterflies and moths. It has adapted itself to suit a variety of different butterfly of the following genus: Euphydryas, Melitaea, Pieris, Melanargia, Zygaena, and Lepidoptera.