Himantoglossum hircinum Orchidaceae Lizard Orchid

Picture 1 Close up

Himantoglossum hircinum 36kb

Description - This striking Orchid has flower spikes which may reach 30-40cm in height. The individual flowers consist of greenish cosed in lobes above a long, twisted strap-shaped "tongue", with purple spots at the apex. This is meant to remind you of a lizard! The linear leaves are unspotted, and the plant smells unpleasantly of goat.

Habitat - This Orchid is found on sand dunes, ideally with a certain amount of lime.

Comments - There is just one plant of the Lizard Orchid in Guernsey, as far as we know, and it was discovered in 2006. The plant must have been there several years, but is in a part of L'Ancresse Common that is not much visited. The habitat is very similar to where it is found in nearby Normandy/Brittany. There are no past records of this plant in the islands of the Bailiwick, but Jersey has had a small colony for many years.

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