John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe

Platanthera algeriensis

P. algeriensis was first described from Algeria by Battander and Trabut in 1892 and is one of the eight members of the Platanthera group represented in Europe. This Genus comprises more than a hundred species worldwide, of which the majority are found in Asia and the Americas

This is a rare species, similar in appearance to P. chlorantha apart from greener coloured flowers and it favouring a very different habitat. It grows in moist, acidic conditions, such as marsh, damp meadows and pasture. In Europe this species is restricted to a few sites in Corsica, Sardinia, mainland Italy and Spain as well as a somewhat uncertain distrinbution in north Africa. 

The plants illustrated here were seen in Sardinia in early June at a time when they were in full flower.   Generally 25-40cm tall with leaves (less rounded than P.chlorantha) almost clasping the stem, although this may be due to the fact that they grew in dense clumps of sedge. The flowers similar in size and shape to P. chlorantha but an intense, almost translucent green not dissimilar to that of the smaller, less robust P. holmboei.  In the majority of plants the lip was turned under itself as in the picture to the right although a few showed the vertical lip as seen in the lower-right image. The plants were growing in heavily grazed wet pasture and all plants seen were growing singly in the centre of a tussock rather than in the surrounding sward.

P. algeriensis prefers a location in mountainous terrain between 700 and 2000 metres but at many, if not most of these sites, the species is under considerable threat due to drainage of its wetland habitat and increased agricultural pressures.