Wild orchid
Wild orchid
Lot Tourisme- C.Asquier
Wild orchid
Wild orchid
R. Dose - Visitor Center Cahors - Lot Valley
Wild orchid
Wild orchid
Pnrcq
Flora of Quercy

Wild orchids

Welcome to the wonderful world of Quercy orchids! Nestled in the heart of the Lot valley, this region offers a rich and diverse habitat for a multitude of wild orchid species. Explore with us the unique beauty of these delicate flowers and discover the enchanting landscapes that shelter them.
Pyramidal Orchis and Trembling Brize
Pyramidal Orchis and Trembling Brize
Lot Tourisme - C. Novello
Preservation of Wild Orchids of Quercy

La preservation wild orchids from Quercy is an absolute priority, they are all subject to regional or even national protection. As visitors and nature lovers, we have a duty to protect these fragile gems by respecting sensitive areas and contributing to conservation efforts led by local authorities and environmental organizations like the Causses du Quercy Natural Park.

IT IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN TO PICK THEM! 

Le spring is the ideal season to discover the fabulous wild orchids of Quercy. We count 48 species in the Lot ! Sometimes discreet, often colorful, queens of imitation, always fascinating to observe, their presence reveals the preservation of biodiversity natural of our destination.

The different species of orchids

1
Fly orchid
Fly orchid
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

Ophrys fly

Ophrys insectifera
  • Height: 15 to 45cm
  • Flowering: April to July
  • Habitat: meadows, woodland edges and clearings.
  • Fun fact: this orchid has developed a unique symbiotic relationship with flies of the Miltogramma genus. It imitates the shape, color, down and emits a pheromone similar to the scent of the female. When a male Miltogramma fly is fooled by this illusion and attempts to mate with the flower, he finds himself covered in pollen, which is then carried to other flowers. This pollination process is crucial for the reproduction of the Ophrys fly.
2
Woodcock orchid
Woodcock orchid
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

Ophrys woodcock

Ophrys scolopax
  • Height: 20 to 45cm
  • Flowering: March to June
  • Habitat: dry lawns, limestone meadows, forest edges and clearings
  • Anecdote: its name comes from the resemblance of its flower to the body of the woodcock. The flower features brown shades and patterns that remarkably mimic the wings and body of the bird. This resemblance also extends to the behavior of the orchid which uses a reproductive strategy called "sexual attraction" to attract pollinating insects, mainly male solitary wasps, who are bewitched by the pheromones emitted by the flower and attempt to mate with it, thus contributing to pollination.
3
Pyramidal orchid
Pyramidal orchid
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

Pyramidal orchis

Pyramidal orchid
  • Height: 20 to 60cm
  • Flowering from May to July
  • Habitat: meadows, limestone lawns, forest edges, clearings, embankments, roadsides and wastelands
  • Legend: In ancient Greece, the pyramidal orchis was often associated with the goddess of love Aphrodite, and its tubers were sometimes used in potions and rituals believed to attract love and passion. It is said that the priests and priestesses of Aphrodite used this orchid in their religious ceremonies to promote the development of romantic relationships.
4
Limodore orchid with aborted leaves
Limodore orchid with aborted leaves
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

Limodore with aborted leaves

Limodorum abortivum
  • Height: 30 to 80cm
  • Flowering from May to July
  • Habitat: wooded meadows and forest edges
  • Legend: Shepherds observed the presence or absence of this orchid in meadows to assess the fertility of the soil and determine whether it was suitable for grazing for their livestock. If the aborted Limodore was abundant, it indicated a rich and balanced soil, while its absence could be interpreted as a sign of soil poverty. 
5
Burnt orchid
Burnt orchid
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

Burnt orchis

Neotinea ustulata
  • Height: 10 to 30cm
  • Flowering: April to July
  • Habitat: open, sunny area, dry meadows, limestone lawns, forest edges, clearings, path edges and grassy areas
  • Legend: Shepherds, while guarding their flocks in the meadows where these orchids grow, would have used burnt orchid stems to light their campfire. The smell given off by these burning stems would have been so pleasant that the shepherds would have given the name "burnt orchis" to this orchid. In addition to this legend, it takes its name from the incandescent appearance of the top of its flower.
6
purple orchid
purple orchid
E. Hernandez - Tourist Office Cahors Lot valley

purple orchid

Orchis purpurea
  • Height: 25 to 60cm
  • Flowering: April to July
  • Habitat: open and semi-shaded area, meadows, forest edges, clearings, embankments, roadsides and wastelands
  • Legend: This orchid was thought to have mysterious powers and was used in various rituals and folk practices. For example, carrying a purple orchis flower on oneself could bring luck and protection against curses and bad luck. It is also said that young girls sometimes used this orchid in love rituals to attract the attention of their beloved. 

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