Lesser Butterfly Orchid
  • Botanical: Platanthera bifolia
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Known as: Zweiblättrige Waldhyazinthe, Weiß-Waldhyazinthe, Weiße Waldhyazinthe
  • Old Use: culinary, medical
  • Aroma: sharp, sweet

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Lesser butterfly-orchids are not to be confused with the greater butterfly-orchid, which are about the same size. Lesser butterfly-orchids are distinguished by their two shining green basal leaves, especially of the hill form, which are shorter and broader and by the angle of the pollinia.The upper sepal and petals form a loose triangular hood above the pollinia, which lie parallel and close together, obscuring the opening into the spur, which is long and almost straight. There are usually around 25 white flowers tinged with yellow-green in a slim flower spike. The flowers are night-scented, but the chemical components of the scent are different from those of greater butterfly-orchid and attract different pollinators.

Military Orchid
  • Botanical: Orchis militaris
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Known as: Helm-Knabenkraut, Salep. Saloop. Sahlep. Satyrion. Levant Salep.
  • Old Use: medical
  • Aroma: sweet

Military Orchid

This plant grows to a height of 20 to 50 cm with a robust stem with rather drawn up oblong basal leaves. The inflorescence forms a purplish dense cone consisting of from 10 to 40 flowers. In each flower the sepals and side petals are gathered together to form a pointed "helmet" (whence it gets its name), a lilac colour outside and a veined purple colour inside. The central tongue finishes in two lobes separated by a tooth.

  • Botanical: Vanilla planifolia
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Known as: Vanilla, Vanilla planifolia, Flat-leaved Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla, Gewürzvanille, Vanillin, Vanille, Echte Vanille
  • Old Use: culinary; medicinal
  • Aroma: spicy, sweet


It uses its fleshy roots to support itself as it grows. Flowers: greenish-yellow, with a diameter of 5 cm (2 in). They last only a day, and must be pollinated manually, during the morning, if fruit is desired. The plants are self-fertile, and pollination simply requires a transfer of the pollen from the anther to the stigma. If pollination does not occur, the flower is dropped the next day. In the wild, there is less than 1% chance that the flowers will be pollinated, so in order to receive a steady flow of fruit, the flowers must be hand-pollinated when grown on farms.

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