|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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Pseudorchis albida was first described by L. C. M. Richard from Pistoia, Italy in 1753. Its name refers to
its white(ish) colouration and it is the sole member of the genus Pseudorchis . The species enjoys several
synonyms including Gymnadenia albida and Leucorchis albida, there being a considerable professional
disagreement as to its correct nomenclature.
It is a widespread Eurasian species, being found throughout the boreo-alpine and temperate zones of
Europe and beyond. It will tolerate a range of conditions but is at its most frequent in full sun on slightly acidic or calcareous soils in mountains or foothills.
P. albida is an unprepossessing orchid that typically grows in grasslands and often where the grass can be
relatively rank, completely concealing the plant from all but the most careful searches. In the UK it is a
rare and declining species and despite some persistent stations in Wales and northern England, its main
stronghold has now retreated to Scotland where it is still possible to find significant colonies. In
continental Europe the position is rather better and it can still be abundant in many mountainous areas
where it will thrive in light woodland and even fens, as well as its more traditional habitat in meadows and
This orchid is unlikely to be confused with other species because although its not at all showy, its quite
distinctive and does not normally grow alongside any similar plants. The common name for P. albida is the
Small White Orchid which is not always appropriate as it often appears in shades of green or yellow. The
pictures are all from Wales and date from the middle of June.