Orchis palustris Jacquin - Marsh orchid
This species is one of the rarest and most endangered orchids of the Italian flora and it is closely related to specific damp lowland habitats. It is present locally only in some regions. The species has suffered a great reduction in the numbers ofits biotopes mainly due to the effects of the water table lowering. It is present in the Mediterranean and central Europe up to northern Africa and the Near East. In Italy it occurs in coastal dune slacks, wet meadows and alkaline fens.
It can be 60-70 cm high and it is characterized by linear-lanceolate streamlined curved leaves. It differs from the similar O. laxiflora for its inflorescence, apparently thicker for the shorter distance of the flowers from the stem, for the lighter colour of its flowers, for the side lobes of its labellum, which are smaller than the central one. The latter similarly has small purple spots.
In the Resurgence area, the species was present in various small spots, generally the wettest often flooded areas of the alkaline fens (association Erucastro-Schoenetum), geographically close to the classical association Orchido-Schoenetum of central Europe. In spite of the protection of these sites, all of them included in the S.C.I.s, the species has suffered in the last years a reduction in numbers because of the lowering of the water table and the lack of maintenance of its biotopes, so that only a few specimens still remain.
Iconografia delle Orchidee d'Italia
W. Rossi, A. Eldredge Maury (tavole) - 2002
Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio
Ist. Naz. per la Fauna Selvatica "A. Ghigi"