Platanthera chlorantha   Greater Butterfly-orchid

Platanthera chlorantha Pyrenees whole Platanthera chlorantha Pyrenees close

Apart form the pollinia (pollen sacs) diverging in the case of P. chlorantha (see floret below), this orchid is supposed to be a little larger and with broader leaves. As with many species these characteristics can vary because of habitat and the differences between Lesser and Greater Butterfly-orchids are so slight morphologically that some European botanists don't recognise them as separate species.

Genetically they are also very similar but one of our foremost botanical geneticists (Bateman) believes that there is a difference, that it is a recently evolved one and has caused a change in the pollinators (Night flying Hawk-moths). This sort of claim (concerning pollinators) has been made before in relation to orchids but more in depth studies have sometimes shown less specificity of pollinator than had been originally thought.

More research needed.

As with Platanthera bifolia this orchid will grow in the hills and is found in the mountains of Europe up to 6,000 feet.


Platanthera chlorantha

Platanthera chlorantha Greater Butterfly-orchid

Cirque de Gavarnie, French Pyrenees 9th June 2009

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Platanthera chlorantha Greater Butterfly-orchid

Hills above G├Ędre, French Pyrenees, 13th June 2009

Added on October 14th 2011

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