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One of the most beautiful and rarest European orchids is called elder orchid. Discovering them in the wild is like a sensation. Get to know all the enchanting attributes of a fascinating plant species in the following portrait.

Visual Appearance

Natural occurrences of orchids are by no means limited to the tropical regions of the world. In the local latitudes, the wonderful flowers also thrive, as the elder orchid proves. Grace can be recognized by these attributes:

  • herbaceous habit with a height of 10 to 30 centimeters
  • richly studded, up to 15 centimeters high spike flowers in red or yellow
  • typical orchid blossoms with folded-back falls on the sides
  • Lips with red dots or bow drawing
  • lanceolate, pointed leaves in rich green
  • Flowering period from May to June

Since the flowers appear either red or yellow, they are popularly called Adam and Eve. Color mixtures are rather the exception. With their magnificent flowers, the orchids attract bumblebees as pollinators. However, the busy insects are not rewarded for their work, because they look in vain for nectar inside the flower.

Narrow distribution area

While real elderberry species are among the most common shrubs in the wild, the location requirements of elderberry orchid are very specific. The orchids avoid calcareous and nutrient-rich soils. They only settle where they encounter meager, slightly humus-rich mountain meadows. In the mountains, orchids climb up to an altitude of 2,000 meters as long as the ground is made of primary rock.

Intensive agriculture is now restricting the habitat of elder orchid to such an extent that the enchanting flower only thrives sporadically. It was therefore included in the Red List of Threatened Species in 2010. It is therefore forbidden under penalty to pick or dig up an elder orchid.

tips and tricks

The elder orchid owes its name to the scent, which is reminiscent of a blooming elder bush. If you smell the aroma of elderflowers in a mountain meadow without seeing any black elderberry, you should look down. With a little luck, you may enjoy one of the very rare encounters with the elder orchid.

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