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 but although this is certainly a familiar habitat choice, its preferences generally are somewhat wider than this.

The distribution of this species isn't known with any certainty and intergradations between O. mascula and various other similar taxa only serves 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 degree of 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 is not unusual. A key differentiator however is the shape of the leaf which in O. pinetorum is broader and less lanceolate than in O. mascula though as can be seen from the full length photograph, they are often folded forward and thus appearing narrower. These leaves are always completely unspotted.

The overall plant is 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 date from the beginning of April.