Violet limodor

Limodorum abortivum

The violet limodor (Limodorum abortivum) is one orchid without chlorophyll living as saprophytic from the humus of the soil. It looks like one wild asparagus or a broom-rape (Orobanche sp.) because there is only one violet bud until 80 cm tall. There are not basal leaves, just small, acute, vertical leaves as bracts protecting the bud. The bud ends in one spike containing maximum 20 flowers, also violet colored. Sepals and petals make one helmet on top, two lateral sepals extend longer, the labellum is concave as a spoon with a yellow center and there is one horn downwards. Sometimes, some flowers do not open.

The scientific name Limodorum, as well as the Spanish name “planta hambrienta” refer to its parasitism, although actually it seems to be just saprophytic in association with fungus.

The habitat of violet limodor is wide; it can be found in dry forests as pine or oak woods and in grasslands.

[photos Jordi Badia (1st, 3rd and 4th) and Marta Queralt López Salvans (2nd and 5th)]