Orchis militaris

Orchis militaris

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
SubTribe: Orchidinae
Genus: Orchis
Species: O. militaris
Binomial name
Orchis militaris
L. 1753

Orchis militaris is a plant of the family Orchidaceae that is found in Europe.


Plant is found growing in dry calcareous substrate such as unfertilized lawns, meadows, edges and light woods up to 2600 meters in altitude. It is well distributed around Europe, reaching as far north as southern Sweden, but rather rare in the Mediterranean areas. It is extremely rare in Britain and a protected species, occurring only at the Rex Graham nature reserve in Suffolk and the Buckinghamshire Chilterns.


Plant blooms in the summer with a cluster of 2cm wide flowers. This plant grows to a height of 20 to 50cm with a robust stem with rather drawn up oblong basal leaves. The inflorescence forms a purplish dense cone consisting of from 10 to 40 flowers. In each flower the sepals and side petals are gathered together to form a pointed "helmet" (whence it gets its name), a lilac colour outside and a veined purple colour inside. The central tongue finishes in two lobes separated by a tooth.


Plants prefer well-drained low-fertility soils and areas with partial shade. This species is cool to intermediate growing. Water regularly. Divide plant when flower fades.


Orchis militaris alba Orchis militaris var. alba Lip is white, sepals and petals are white
Orchis militaris1 Orchis militaris variant Lip is white with a pink patch at the end, sepals and petals are light pink
Orchis militaris2 Orchis militaris variant Lip is yellow with red specks, sepals and petals are green


Orchis militaris habitat

Orchis militaris in its habitat

Common name:Helmut-Like Orchis, The Military Orchid


  1. Orchis cinerea Schrank 1789
  2. Orchis galeata Poiret 1789
  3. Orchis militaris subsp. stevenii (Rchb.f.) B.Baumann & al. 2003
  4. Orchis militaris var. tenuifrons P.D.Sell in P.D.Sell & G.Murrell 1996
  5. Orchis mimusops Thuill 1799
  6. Orchis nervata Marchand 1827
  7. Orchis punctulata subsp. stevenii (Rchb.f.) H.Sund. 1980
  8. Orchis raddeana Regel 1869
  9. Orchis rivini Gouan 1775
  10. Orchis stevenii Rchb.f. 1849
  11. Strateuma militaris (L.) Salisb. 1812