This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This pleasant-scented Orchid is another Arctic plant, also a member of the chalk flora in England, of which no early record appears. It is found to-day in N. Temperate and Arctic Europe, in Siberia, Dahuria, and W. Asia. In Great Britain it does not grow in N. Devon, S. Somerset, Hunts, Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Pembroke, Carnarvon, Flint, Isle of Man, Haddington, Westerness, E. Sutherland, or the Hebrides, but is found up to 2000 ft. in the Highlands.
Mountainous districts as a whole constitute the favourite habitat of the Fragrant Orchis, and it is frequent on dry pastures in most parts of Great Britain. It occurs also in wet places, even in marshes or bogs in some places; but is perhaps more at home on the gently rolling slopes of a mountain range, where it obtains the humid and moist conditions it needs.
This is a very tall, graceful, erect Orchid. The leaves are closely-sheathing. The tubers are spread out from a centre. The leaves are lance-shaped, oblong, keeled, acute.
The flowers are pink or purple or white,1 and very fragrant. The iip is trifid, divided into three nearly to the base, entire. The flowers are in long, narrow spikes, dense or loose. The spur is bristle-like, and twice as long as the ovary. The bracts are equal in length to the ovary, green, 3-nerved. The sepals are spreading.
1 Butterflies may be attracted by the red flowers, moths by the white forms.
Fragrant Orchis is 18 in. in height. Flowers may be found in June and July. It is a perennial, propagated by division of the tubers.
In the group Gymna-denia the spur is wavy, the lip broad, 3-lobed, rounded. The anther cells are parallel, confluent with the column, the pollen masses distant, and the rostellum placed between them, produced. The stigma is bilobed, swollen, and lateral. The spur is so slender and narrow that honey, though it rises half-way up the tube, is only reached by the long proboscis of Lepi-doptera, the Burnished Brass Moth (Plusia Chrysitis), Silver Y (P. gamma), Treble - bar (Anaitis plagiata),
Large-yellow Under-wing (Tryphaena pro-nuba). The flower is very sweet-scented.
The seeds are light and small, and are thus dispersed by the wind. Fragrant Orchid is a humus-loving plant, growing in peat soil or humus soil.
Habenaria, R. Brown, is from the Latin habena, thong, strap, from the shape of the tip, and conopsea is from the Greek conops, gnat, because it grows in situations where gnats are common.
This plant is known as Long Tails, Lover's Wanton, as well as Fragrant Orchid.
Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Fragrant Orchis (Habenaria Conopsea, Benth.)