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Platanthera bifolia


Perennial herbaceous plant with spindle-shaped tubers.
Stem is 40-60 cm high, at base with brownish axilla. Upwards there are 2-3 large oblong ovate leaves, the other 1-3 leaves are much smaller and look like bracts. Inflorescence consists of 10-25 relatively large flowers, loose, oval or cylindrical. Flowers have a strong pleasant aroma. The white-green petals have greenish tips. The two outer ones are spread out and the central is linear, they gather in a helmet. The labellum is full, linear with a long, greenish, narrow spur.
This orchid flowers in Strandzha from May to June.
The species propagates mainly through seeds. Around dusk the flowers emit a strong, sweet scent attracting night-flying moths which pollinate them. The nectar is held at the end of a long, tube-like spur and can only be reached by certain species of moth. When a flower is successfully pollinated, a capsule is produced which slowly swells, then ripens, splitting down the sides to release several thousand dust-like seeds in August and September. The tiny seeds are dispersed by wind.

Common names
Lesser butterfly-orchid
Synonyms
Platanthera bifolia (L.) Rich.
Conservation status
CITES-listed species
Records
This species has been reported 3 times with a total of 35 specimens recorded.
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