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The Black Vanilla Orchid is a small, deep red European orchid found in alpine pastures between 1500 and 2500 m ASL. The flowers are arranged on a globular spike, and have a deep vanilla smell. The plant loves full light and flowers between end of June and mid-August. Protected by CITES, the main threats to this little alpine jewel are greedy hikers and overgrazing.
Calcarous grassy area, 2200 m ASL. Last picture shows the habitat.
The flower smells strongly of vanilla if you get down on your hands and knees and smell it! Unlike most orchids, the labellum (lip) is directed towards the top of the flower.The plant grows to ~20 cm high. Leaves are found as a rosette as the basis of the plant, with a few more bract-like leaves alternating on the stem. More pictures of the whole plant can be found here (sighted on the opposite side of the same valley) http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/125...
Spotted on Jul 15, 2014
Submitted on Jul 30, 2014
and 34 other people favorited this spotting