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Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)
Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)
Plant Info
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Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Liliopsida
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Order: Asparagales
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Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
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Tribe: Orchideae
Subtribe: Habenariinae
Genus: Gymnadenia
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Binomial name
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See text.

Gymnadenia is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) containing 22 terrestrial species.

They can be found in damp meadows, fens and marshes, and on chalk or limestone, often in alpine regions of Europe and Asia up to the Himalayas. The Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) has been introduced into the USA.

These hardy terrestrial orchids are deciduous. They survive the winter through their corms, two deep-cut tubers (more like tuberous roots). Long lanceolate green leaves grow at the bottom of the stem. There are some small leaves at the stop of the stem.

They flower during the summer. The inflorescence is a dense cylindrical spike between 5 and 30 cm long. It can consists of up to 150 small pleasant-smelling flowers. Their color can vary from pale purple to pink and white. The lip is wide with three lobes. The marginal petals are horizontal. There is a long, thin, threadlike spur.

Several species were formerly classified under Nigritella.


A nothogeneric name is the name at generic rank for a hybrid between representatives of two or more genera.

  • Gymnadenia archiducis-joannis ¹ (Austria)
  • Gymnadenia austriaca ¹ (C. Europe to Pyrenees).
    • Gymnadenia austriaca var. austriaca ¹ (C. Europe). Tuber geophyte
    • Gymnadenia austriaca var. gallica ¹ (Pyrenees, W. Alps) Tuber geophyte
  • Gymnadenia bicornis (Tibet).
  • Gymnadenia borealis (N. & C. Europe).
  • Gymnadenia × breinerorum ¹ (G. cenisia × G. corneliana) (France).
  • Gymnadenia buschmanniae ¹ (Italy)
  • Gymnadenia carpatica ¹ (E. Carpathians).
  • Gymnadenia cenisia ¹ (France)
  • Gymnadenia × chanousiana ² (G. cenisia × G. conopsea) (France).
  • Gymnadenia conopsea : Fragrant Orchid (Europe to Temp. E. Asia)
  • Gymnadenia corneliana (Beauverd) Teppner & E.Klein (SW. Alps)
    • Gymnadenia corneliana var. bourneriasii (E.Breiner & R.Breiner) Pellic (2005) (formerly Nigritella corneliana subsp. bourneriasii)
  • Gymnadenia crassinervis (China
  • Gymnadenia × delphineae ² (G. corneliana × G. rhellicani) (France)
  • Gymnadenia dolomitensis ¹ (S. Alps).
  • Gymnadenia × eggeriana ¹ (G. austriaca var. gallica × G. rhellicani) (France).
  • Gymnadenia emeiensis (China – Sichuan).
  • Gymnadenia frivaldii (Balkan Pen. to S. Carpathians)
  • Gymnadenia gabasiana ¹ (Pyrenees)
  • Gymnadenia × godferyana ² (Alps) (G. conopsea × rubra)
  • Gymnadenia × heufleri (G. nigra × G. odoratissima) (Alps)
  • Gymnadenia × intermedia (G. conopsea × G. odoratissima) (Europe).
    • Gymnadenia × intermedia nothosubsp. intermedia (Europe) Tuber geophyte
    • Gymnadenia × intermedia nothosubsp. proxima.(G. conopsea × G. odoratissima subsp. ongicalcarata) (SW. Europe) Tuber geophyte
Gymnadenia (Nigritella) rhellicani
  • Gymnadenia × truongiae ² (G. conopsea × G. corneliana) (France).
  • Gymnadenia × turnowskyi ² (G. conopsea × G. lithopolitanica) (Austria)
  • Gymnadenia × wettsteiniana ¹ (G. nigra × G. rubra) (Alps)
  • Gymnadenia widderi ¹ (NE. Alps, C. Italy).
¹ Species or Hybrid was formerly classified under Nigritella.
² Hybrid was formerly classified under × Gymnigritella.

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Delforge, P. 1998. Contribution taxonomique et nomenclaturale au genre Gymnadenia (Orchidaceae). (Nomenclatural and taxonomical contribution to the genus Gymnadenia (Orchidaceae). Nat. Belg. 79(4): 251-256.

Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) - habit
Gymnadenia odoratissima
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