Orchis italica

 

Botanical Name : Orchis italica
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily:Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchidae
Subtribe:Orchidinae
Alliance:Orchis
Genus: Orchis
Species:O. italica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Naked man orchid or the Italian orchid

Habitat :Orchis italica is native to the Mediterranean. It grows on calcareous soils in grassland, garigue and open places in pine woodland.
Description:
Orchis italica is a  bulb .It grows up to 50cm in height and has a rosette of distinctive wavy-margined leaves at the base of the plant. The leaves are sometimes flecked with brown. There are a further 3 or 4 small leaves sheathing the stem. The flowers are carried in a dense inflorescence and are usually pale to dark pink. From time to time pure white specimens occur but they are rare.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 6-Oct It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

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Edible Uses:
Root – cooked. It is a source of ‘salep‘, a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a powder. Salep is a starch-like substance with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell. It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.
Medicinal Uses:

Antidiarrhoeal; Antiflatulent; Demulcent; Nutritive.

Salep (see above for more details) is very nutritive and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting seed

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchis_italica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Orchis+italica
http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/orchis-italica.php

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