Scientific Name: Orchis anthropophora (syn Aceras anthropophorum) - 'orchis' is from the Greek for testicle, a reference to the form of the tubers; 'anthropos' = 'man' and 'phora' = 'one who carries', together a reference to the way the labellum (the bottom petal) is reminiscent of the shape of a man, with lobes that form arms and legs .
English Name: Man Orchid - referring to the same features as the scientific name.
French Name: Homme-pendu, which translates as 'hanged man', so the allusion is similar to the English and scientific names. Also Orchis Homme-pendu or Porte-homme ('man hanger' or 'man carrier') and Pantine (a pantine is an old technical term used in the silk dyeing industry. It took four pantines to make a hand of silk, so I am guessing the name is another way of acknowledging the four lobes of the labellum).
5 Key Characters:
- narrow, elongated flower spike (5-20cm) with numerous densely packed flowers (up to 60)
- labellum (lower petal) deeply divided and hanging
- the only Orchis sp to have no eperon (the 'tube' at the back of the flower)
- upper petals and sepals green with red-brown borders, forming a hood over the labellum
- labellum greeny-yellow to reddish
Habitat: Full sun to semi-shade on calcareous soil and marl; in lush short moderately dry grassland (like lawns), limestone scrubland, roadsides and occasionally, woodland clearings. May be growing as isolated plants or in quite large colonies. Occasionally on sand.
Flowering Period: April-May-June.
Status: Protected. Quite rare in Indre et Loire and Indre as a whole, but quite common in the Claise valley and common in Vienne. Can be seen within 5km of Preuilly-sur-Claise. In the Touraine it occurs in localised pockets, almost all of which are south of a line between Loches and Richelieu. Occurs in good numbers in the Brenne and Sologne.
Recorded by Loire Valley Nature:
Link to article in Days on the Claise.