This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Sepals yellowish green. Lip nearly flat, narrow, reddish brown, with a blue patch. 2 lateral lobes linear, small, middle lobe deeply bifid. Flowers distant.
Grassy hillsides, especially on limestone, ascending to about 4000 feet in Switzerland, as, e.g. at Engelberg. May, June.
Europe, especially Central. British.
Tubers 2 or more lobed. Sepals spreading. Lip long, spurred, recurved or deflexed. Anther-cells parallel. Pollen-glands remote, linear.
Tubers deeply divided palmately. Lobes cylindrical or tapering. Stem leafy, 4-10 inches high. Lower leaves obovate-lanceolate; upper leaves lanceolate, often small, sheathing. Spike cylindrical, dense, slender, and often slightly unilateral. Bracts 3-nerved, about as long as ovary. Perianth very small, yellowish white, slightly fragrant. Segments obtuse, all 5 connivent into an ovate helmet. Lip 3-lobed, lobes tongue-shaped, acute, the middle one broadest. Spur directed upwards, half or one-third length of ovary.
Meadows, pastures, margins of woods, and among debris in the Alps and lower Alps from 3000-7000 feet, both on limestone and slate. June to August.
Carpathians; Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Black Forest, Vosges, Pyrenees, Cevennes; Central and Northern Europe, Greenland. British.
Tubers palmately divided. Stem leafy, 12-18 inches high. Leaves lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, upper ones often very small, sheathing. Spike cylindrical, dense-flowered. Bracts 3-nerved, about as long as ovary. Lip 3-partite. Lobes nearly alike, obtuse, or the middle one acute. Spur filiform, bent downwards, 1 1/2 to twice the length of ovary. Remaining perianth-segments obtuse, the 3 upper ones approximate, forming a helmet, the 2 lateral spreading or reflexed. Very variable both in colour of flowers and size of the separate parts. Usually rose-coloured, lighter or darker, or various shades of purple or mauve, rarely white, with slight scent of vanilla.
Alpine and sub-alpine pastures, often in great quantities, and also in the plains. June, July.
Most of Europe; Western and Northern Asia. British.
Very similar to certain forms of the last, but the leaves are narrower, the spike often more slender, the lip narrow, and the spur straighter and shorter. (The drawing depicts an unusually long-spurred form.) The flowers are strongly scented of vanilla, and rather smaller than in conopsea. The two species are often found together, and occasionally hybridise.
Hills, damp meadows, etc., to the Alpine region. June, July.
Carpathians, Alps; Central and Northern Europe as far as Sweden.
Tubers palmately divided. Stem 3-8 inches high, leafy below and sometimes throughout. Leaves linear, channelled, the lower ones crowded. Spike conical or ovate, densely flowered. Bracts as long as or longer than the perianth. Flowers small, like the bracts dark carmine (N. rubra Richter) or purplerblack (N. nigra Reichb.), with the odour of vanilla. Lip ovate. Apex acuminate, entire, or slightly crenate. Spur very short, obovate, much shorter than ovary; remaining perianth-segments lanceolate, acuminate.
Alpine and sub-alpine pastures, often in batches; 5000-8500 feet. June to August.
Carpathians, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Cevennes, Pyrenees, Apennines, Balkans, Scandinavia. Mountainous Europe. The red variety (N. rubra Richter) is found in the Grisons and in the Maritime Alps.