John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Orchis anthropophora x simia

O. anthropophora was first described from France in 1753 and until recently had been placed in a genus of its own, Aceras. The primary reason for this isolation was cited as its lack of a spur but subsequent molecular studies revealed that despite this, it was indeed an Orchis and further, that it was very closely related to O. simia. The frequency of hybridization with O. simia and O. militaris had already been noted and consequently the studies results really come as no great surprise to the majority of botanists. Man Orchid (as it has always been commonly known) is now reclassified within the eleven strong O. militaris group of Orchis.

O. anthropophora has a widespread range from Britain and Northern France, through most of Europe down to North Africa and across to Syria in the east. The distribution of O. simia or Monkey Orchid is rather more limited but there is nonetheless a huge overlap encompassing most of continental Europe, where the scope for hybridization is significant. The cross between the two species has been formally named Orchis x bergonii and is particularly common in southern France where both parent species are particularly abundant. The pictures here come from the Var and Cevenne regions.

As can be seen from the pictures, Orchis x bergonii can be a variable plant both in colouration and in the formation of the inflorescence. Most commonly, colour reflects the more vivid tones of O. simia, whereas the flower head tends to resemble the more elongated and densely flowered structure of O. anthropophora. It will be noted that as with both parents, the hybrid lacks a male appendage, a feature which distinguishes it from both Orchis x spurium and Orchis x bivonae.