John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Orchis pinetorum

O. pinetorum was first described from Cilicie (Anatolia) by Boissier and Kotschy in 1859 and is a member of the widespread O. mascula group of Orchis. Its name refers to the species frequent appearance in pine forest and although this is certainly a familiar habitat, its preferences are generally somewhat wider than this.

The distribution of this species isn't known with any certainty and in the cross-over zones, inter-gradations between O. mascula and various other similar taxa only serve to complicate the issue further. It is however at its most plentiful in a range extending from the former Yugoslavian states, through Greece and Turkey to Syria and possibly as far as Russia.

It normally grows on alkaline substrates, in dry to damp conditions and almost invariably in some shade, though rarely in a deeply shaded position. It appears to favour more montane locations where although highly local, can be abundant in its favoured sites. Separating O. pinetorum from O. mascula can be difficult, particularly as has already been mentioned, hybridization between the two species, particularly in the west of its range, is not unusual. A key differentiator however is the leaf which in O. pinetorum is broader, less lanceolate and always completely unspotted.

The overall plants are similarly proportioned but in O. pinetorum the individual flowers are larger, fewer in number and the inflorescence more lax. The two species appear at much the same time with March to May being the usual flowering period. The accompanying photographs come from northern Greece and the Aegean island of Samos, dating from the beginning of April on the Mainland and the end of April in Samos.