John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Neotinea species Links

Neotinea tridentata x ustulata

Both N. ustulata and N. tridentata together with the other members of the O.tridentata group had long been isolated within the Orchis genera and have always been the subject of debate as to their true generic home. They started their formally described existence as Neotinea and were then reclassified into the Orchis genus where they remained for many years until recent research indicated that both they and their fellow
 group members should more correctly be returned to the Neotinia stable.

It was always puzzling that despite often growing in their thousands with other Orchis species, ustulata was never found to have hybridized with any other than O. tridentata which as already mentioned is now known to be a close genetic cousin. N. tridentata and N. ustulata have a widespread mutual range that take them from France and Germany in the north, down to the Mediterranean and across to Russia. Hybridization between the two species seems generally at its most common in the vast orchid meadows of southern France and northern Italy. Given the attractiveness of their genetic contributers, the resultant hybrid is unsurprisingly a similarly pleasing little plant. It is notable however that notwithstanding the donor/recipient effect, this hybrid more frequently demonstrates a closer resemblance to N. ustulata than N. tridentata

Like its parents it prefers  a position in full sun on alkaline soils, usually short grass and low alpine pastures. The illustrations come from the Vercors of southern France and northern Greece.