John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Orchis anthropophora x militaris

O. anthropophora  was first described from France in 1753 and until recently had been placed in a genus of its own, Aceras. The primary reason for this isolation was cited as its lack of a spur but subsequent molecular studies revealed that despite this, it was indeed an Orchis and further, that it was very closely related to O. simia. The frequency of hybridization with O. simia and O. militaris had already been noted and consequently the studies results really come as no great surprise to the majority of botansts. Man Orchid (as it has always been commonly known) is now reclassified within the eleven strong O. militaris group of Orchis.

O. militaris or Military Orchid has a more limited range but there is nonetheless a  huge overlap encompassing most of continental Europe, where the scope for hybridization is significant. The cross between the two species has been formally named Orchis x spurium and is particularly common in southern France where both parent species are particularly abundant.

The picture comes from the Cevenne and given the immediate presence of the two parent species was readily identifiable as Orchis x spurium. The plant can be seen to carry an appendage between the two secondary median lobes, this being a feature inherited from O. militaris and not possessed by O. anthropophora flowers.