Of all the wild flowers it is the orchids that are the most varied and charming. They can be spotted from the end of winter and throughout the summer although spring is the best time. The orchid family (orchidaceae) has 16 genera here in Portugal. All these photos are of orchids taken near our home, we feel very lucky to have so many species (nineteen at the last count) within walking distance.

1 Aceras anthropophorum
Man orchid – or rather a space man with a very large striped helmet!

2 Anacamptis pyramidalis
Pyramidal orchid – not only its shape but also the distinctive 3-lobed lip helps in identification.

3 Barlia robertiana
Giant orchid – big, bold and brassy. This is the first of the orchids we see and at a possible 60cm in height shy it is not.

4 Cephalanthera longifolia
Sword-leaved helleborine – favours shadier spots.

(5 Dactylorhiza  None spotted near us)

6 Epipactis lusitanica
No non-Latin name, but such a lovely find in a couple of different places.

(7 Gennaria, 8 Gymnadenia  None spotted near us)

9 Limodorum trabutianum
We’ve only seen one of these and only once, so a rare find. A rather peculiar looking orchid and it’s quite common for them to not fully or even half open, like this one.

(10 Neotinea, 11 Neottia None spotted near us)

12 Ophrys fusca
Sombre bee orchid – a new find for us, and one of the 6 lovely ophrys orchids near us.

Ophrys lutea
Yellow ophrys – another first for us and such a glorious yellow.

Ophrys speculum
Mirror orchid – a beautiful shiny blue.

Ophrys scolopax
Woodcock orchid – the little upturned end of the lip, the appendage, points outwards differentiating it from the Bee orchid, below.

Ophrys apifera
Bee orchid – one of the special ones. See how the appendage is tucked behind the lip, almost invisible from straight on.


Here’s quite a rare albino bee orchid.

Ophrys tenthredinifera
Sawfly orchid – has red to pink sepals, the lip is flatter and almost triangular with a yellow or light brown margin.

13 Orchis coriophora
Bug orchid – there’s a field near us which is packed full of these, but then we don’t see them anywhere else.

Orchis italica
Naked man orchid – who can fail to be amused by this orchid. And it’s the one which got us interested in this group of flowers.

Orchis mascula
Early-purple orchid – the next orchid up after the Giant, a beautiful deep purple with spotted flowers and leaves.

And, amazingly, this seems to be an albino version of the Early-purple.

Orchis conica
Conical orchid –  only recently spotted (April 2017) and we’ve only seen six specimens in one place.
conical orchidconical orchid2

Orchis purpurea
The lady orchid. We actually spotted these little ladies on holiday in the French Pyrenees.

Orchis militaris
We also spotted this military orchid in France.

14 Platanthera None spotted near us)

15 Serapias lingua
Tongue orchid – very different from the others.

16 Spiranthes spiralis
Autumn lady’s-tresses. We only saw one or two of these for years and then suddenly they started appearing in our garden! A great little orchid and one of the very few to appear in the autumn.

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