John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Anacamptis pyramidalis var. tanayensis

A. pyramidalis or Pyramidal Orchid was first described from Oxford, England by the French botanist L.C.M.Richard in 1753 and its name refers to the pyramidal shape of its inflorescence.

It is a common and widespread European orchid that ranges from Ireland in the far west to the Caspian Sea region in the east. There are currently five recognized varieties of A. pyramidalis including var. tanayensis as depicted here. It was first   described by Chenevard in 1897 and named after the Lac de Tanay in the Swiss Alps.

This variety has a wide range in Europe but is strictly an inhabitant of the southern Alpine regions, predominantly the French and Swiss Alps although it may also be found, albeit sparingly as far east as the Carpathians. The picture accompanying this text dates from the end of June and came from the Schneeberg, a mountain in Lower Austria where it was accompanied by good numbers of the rare and declining Gymnadenia Widderi.

It is a variety with a tight inflorescence of smaller flowers than var. pyramidalis and with a more prominent median lip. The key distinguishing features however are its unmistakable vivid red colouration and the fact that it grows at altitudes above 1500 meters where var. pyramidalis would not be present.