John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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  Limodorum trabutianum

This species was first described by Battandier from Mount Zaccar, Algeria in 1886 and was named after
French botanist L. Trabut (1853 - 1929). It is one of only two members of the genus Limodorum, though some experts do not accept its status as a full species, regarding it as either a sub species or merely a variety.

It's distribution is not fully understood and was originally thought to be restricted to the western Mediterranean where significant populations were known from southern Spain, central Portugal and north Africa. Recently however, colonies have been discovered in southern France, mainland Italy and Sardinia, with further extensions to this range probable. L. trabutianum is virtually always found growing with L. abortivum and for this reason. some authorities are somewhat understandably reluctant to accept it as a full species.

Whether or not L. trabutianum is justifiably a full species, it is nonetheless a morphologically distinct plant with several characteristic features. Where, as is often the case, the two species grow together and a direct comparison can be made, it is noticeable how much paler and more slender trabutianum appears. The colouration is a light charcoal grey, even green as opposed to the darker, mauvish tinge of abortivum. The flowers themselves are smaller, upward pointing with only a short spur and a much narrower, more linear lip. These flowers rarely open fully and in some populations they don't open at all beyond the tip of the bud. They are therefore necessarily self pollinating and this factor in itself contributes to the perpetuation of a degenerate species/variety with a distinctive appearance, similar in lifestyle to that of Epipactis phyllanthes.

The illustrations are from southern Spain and Sardinia, dating from the 12th of April.