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.
Rootstock cylindrical, knotty, horizontal, tufted, with fleshy fibres. Stem downy and leafy, 1-2 flowered, about a foot high. Leaves elliptical, or ovate-lanceolate, strongly nerved, glabrous above, downy beneath and at margin. Bracts similar to stem-leaves but smaller. Lip yellow, saccate, large, not spurred; the other perianth-segments spreading, 1 1/2 inch long, purple-brown; the upper one broadly lanceolate, acuminate, a similar one (formed of the 2 lateral segments combined into one) under the lip; the two inner lateral ones linear-lanceolate, acute, usually twisted.
Alpine and sub-alpine woods, chiefly on steep mossy, limestone slopes under the Pines or near rocks. June.
Carpathians, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura, Pyrenees, Caucasus, Siberia. In Europe almost to the Arctic Circle. British.
Root-leaves large, usually 2. Lip entire, ovary twisted, shorter than the spur. Rostellum short and broad. Flowers whitish, fragrant, in a lax spike.
Tubers entire. Stem 12-18 inches, with 2 large broadly ovate to oblong leaves at the base. Flowers yellowish or greenish white, sweet-scented, rather large in a loose spike, 3-5 inches long, and with lanceolate bracts about length of ovary. Two lateral sepals spreading. Lip linear, entire, obtuse. Spur slender, filiform, and curved, twice length of ovary. Anther-cells or pollinia usually parallel. Also called Habenaria bifolia R.Br.
Thickets in the hills, wood clearings, and moist pastures. June.
Europe, from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle, Siberia, Western Asia. British.
Closely resembling the last, but taller and larger in all its parts. Stems 2-2 1/2 feet high. Anther-cells or pollinia broadly diverging. Two very large leaves at the base of the stem. Flowers larger, greenish white, less scented. Lip lanceolate-obtuse, yellowish green. Spur long. Spike loose, from 4-6 inches long.
Woods, rarer than the last, but widely spread. June.
Europe, Caucasus, Siberia, N. Africa. British.
A small, slender plant, 4-6 inches high, with usually 2 oval-lanceolate radical leaves. Tubes nearly globular, the new one being produced at the end of one of the root-fibres proceeding from the crown. Spike slender, with many small yellowish green flowers. Sepals erect and narrow. 'Petals' narrower and rather longer. Lip scarcely longer, hollowed into a sort of pouch at the base, but not spurred, with 3 narrow, entire lobes. Plant smelling of Musk.
Mossy banks, hillsides and mountain pastures up to at least 4000 feet. June, July.
Mountains of Southern Europe. Hilly pastures of Central, Northern, and Arctic Europe, and Russian Asia. England.