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Anacamptis pyramidalis var.serotina

A. pyramidalis var. serotina was first described by Presser as a subspecies in 2007, was subsequently demoted to a form by Delforge and then achieved promotion again, albeit to varietal status by Kreutz in 2011. Its name is a reference to the orchids late flowering and also accounts for its unsurprising common name of the Late Pyramidal Orchid.

Differentiating this variety from the nominate species A. pyramidalis, is all but impossible on a purely morphological basis as there would appear to be few if any characteristics that are unique to this variety. One small exception to this observation is colouration, which as can be seen from the photos, tends towards pale pastel shades of pink and lilac ,with pure white being frequent. This feature is however common to two other varieties, namely A. pyramidalis var. urvilleana , and A. pyramidalis var. brachystachys and we return therefore to the main distinguishing differentiator, flowering times. The pictures here all come from the Aegean island of Samos in early May at a time when the nominate species was all but finished.

The distribution of this variety is not known with any certainty but is relatively widespread either side of the Adriatic in peninsula Italy and Croatia. Disjunct populations occur in Albania, across continental Greece and into the Aegean basin where it can form large colonies on dry calcareous soils in full sun and often in close association with A. sancta, a species with which hybridization has been recorded. The final picture is something of a curiosity and its colour and structure suggests it may be of just such mixed parentage. Hybridization of A. sancta and A. pyramidalis var. brachystachys was formally named A x lesbiensis by Biel in 1998.