20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Summer Nights on White Orchids

Orchis militaris variety albiflora is one of the rarest white varieties in Romania. The terminal end of the labellum (median, modified petal) divides into two long lobes separated by a small tooth, which resembles a small soldier, hence its vernacular name, the Military Orchid. I was doing my usual field research on wild orchids that grow in the subalpine regions of Central Romania, photographing the ‘purple’ coloured individuals of the species, the common variety usually found. Suddenly, I spotted this bright white Orchis militaris individual, growing imposing at a forest margin, on a hilltop. As a bonus, an Orange Tip Butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, was resting on the top of its inflorescence. This was the first Orchis militaris variety albiflora I ever encountered after more than 5 years of orchid research. To date, there are only three ‘albiflora’ individuals known to have flowered in Romania (Camera: Nikon D850).

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Dealu Mare, Romania
Camera: NIKON D850
Copyright: © Nora De Angelli