Gymnadenia conopsea (L.) R. Br.

fragrant orchid

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Fragrant orchid, native to northern Europe and Asia, has been collected in Connecticut, but has not been seen in recent years. It is strongly fragrant with a clove-like scent, and bears dense, cylindrical spikes of pink to pink-purple flowers.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Connecticut
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Number of leaves on stem
  • five
  • four
  • six or more
  • three
Form of lower petal
the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
Lower petal outline
the labellum is lobed but not fringed
Main color of lower petal
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
  • white
Nectar spur
the flower has at least one nectar spur on it
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
Lower petal characteristics
  • the labellum has spurs on it
  • the labellum is lobed
Lower petal length
3.5–5 mm
Sepal length
3.5–5.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Flower petal color
    • pink
    • purple
    • red
    • white
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowering date
    • July
    • June
    Form of lower petal
    the labellum does not have a pouch-like shape
    Hairs on inflorescence axis
    the main stem of the inflorescence is hairless
    Inflorescence length
    30–160 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Labellum position
    the labellum is in the lower position on the flower
    Length of narrowed base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lobes at base of lower petal
    0 mm
    Lower petal characteristics
    • the labellum has spurs on it
    • the labellum is lobed
    Lower petal length
    3.5–5 mm
    Lower petal outline
    the labellum is lobed but not fringed
    Lower petal strongly red-veined
    no
    Main color of lower petal
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • white
    Nectar spur
    the flower has at least one nectar spur on it
    Nectar spur length
    10–18 mm
    Number of stamens
    1
    Orientation of side petals
    the lateral petals are angled steeply upwards
    Self-pollinating flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on this plant
    Sepal length
    3.5–5.5 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Shape of viscidium
    the viscidium is long and narrow
    Spots on lower petal
    no
    Spur opening membrane
    there is no membrane over the spur opening
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed capsule orientation
    the capsule points upwards or is angled outwards
  • Growth form
    Plant green or not
    the plant is chlorophyllous (it has green parts)
    Roots
    the rhizomes do not resemble coral
    Underground organs
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bract relative length
    • the bract is longer than the associated flower
    • the bract is shorter than the associated flower
    Features of leaves
    the leaf does not have any of the mentioned special features
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade edges
    the edges of the leaf blade have no teeth
    Leaf blade length
    60–250 mm
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    7.5–10
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    8–25 mm
    Leaves during flowering
    there are leaves on the plant when it is flowering
    Number of bracts on stem
    At least 1
    Number of leaves on stem
    • five
    • four
    • six or more
    • three
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Connecticut
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Platanthera psycodes:
labellum 5-13 mm long, with fringed lobes, and leaf blades entire (vs. G. conopsea, with labellum 3.5–5 mm long, with entire lobes, and leaf blades denticulate).

Synonyms

  • Habenaria conopsea (L.) Benth.

Family

Orchidaceae

Genus

Gymnadenia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Gymnadenia conopsea (L.) R. Br. E

fragrant orchid. Habenaria conopsea (L.) Benth. • CT. Fields, roadsides, meadows. Historically known from Litchfield County, CT, but not seen in recent years.