Gymnadenia odoratissima 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Gymnadenia odoratissima (L.) Rich.
Common Name(s):
English Short Spurred Fragrant Orchid , Scented Gymnadenia
Habenaria odoratissima (L.) Franch.
Orchis odoratissima L.
Satyrium odoratissimum (L.) Wahlenb.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-04-11
Assessor(s): Rankou, H.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M. & Bilz, M.
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

Gymnadenia odoratissima is rather local and sometimes abundant where it occurs with a large distribution area in Europe. The extent of occurrence is greater than 20,000 km² and the existing threats for the species and the habitats are unlikely to cause the populations to decline quickly in the near future. However, local declines have been noted and the species is included in several national red lists. Local conservation actions are therefore recommended. Therefore, Gymnadenia odoratissima is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Gymnadenia odoratissima is a European endemic orchid found from southern Sweden to northern Spain, east to the Carpathians and in all the regions of northern Italy except Liguria. The species can be found up to 2,700 m altitude. (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2010, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Countries occurrence:
Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Croatia; Estonia; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine
Regionally extinct:
Czech Republic; Luxembourg
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:132
Upper elevation limit (metres):2700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Gymnadenia odoratissima is rather local and sometimes abundant within its sites. The number of individuals in each populations is fairly high with strong fluctuations in the number of mature individuals. The population is decreasing on many sites due to numerous threats. (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Gymnadenia odoratissima typically grows in grassland, meadows, marshes, flushed slopes, mountain pastures, road verges, grassy moorland and rarely xerophitic short grassland. It prefers moist to damp, calcareous substrates. This species grows in full sunlight and flowers from May to August.(Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

The bulb is very nutritious when 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 which can be made into a drink, added to cereals or to bread. It can be prepared in the same way as arrowroot. A jelly can be made from the salep which is used to treat irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal (Plants For a Future 2010). This species is collected for horticultural use.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Gymnadenia odoratissima is locally declining on many sites due to numerous anthropogenic threats especially ploughing, agricultural use, conversion of grassland into arable land, drainage and land improvement. Abandonment of grazing causes scrub to invade and subsequently competition; overgrazing on the other hand leads to loss of species diversity. In addition, the species is affected by collection of the plant by garden lovers and of the tuber for the production of salep, by urbanisation and tourism. (Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All orchid species are included under Annex B of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This orchid is listed in several national red lists:
  • Regionally Extinct in Czech Republic (Holub and Procházka 2000) and Luxembourg (Colling 2005)
  • Endangered in Hungary (Király 2007)
  • Vulnerable in France (UICN France et al. 2010) and Germany (level 3- Ludwig and Schnittler 1996)
  • Near Threatened in Sweden(Gärdenfors 2010)
  • Least Concern in Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002)
  • Data Deficient in Croatia (Nikolić and Topić 2005)
The following actions are recommended to protect Gymnadenia odoratissima:
  • Protection of the habitat from ploughing, agricultural uses and conversion to arable land.
  • Fencing the vulnerable sites to protect the species.
  • Management of appropriate levels of grazing.
  • Control and management of the salep production from the tubers.
  • Water regime must be ensured, drainage of downs and pastures should be avoided, and provision of small dams may be necessary to avoid drying of the site.
  • Raise public awareness.
  • Protection of the living individuals through legislation which bans the species from being picked or dug up.
  • Ex situ conservation: Artificial propagation, re-introduction, seed collections.
  • Monitoring and surveillance of the existing populations and sites.
  • Estimate the population size and study their dynamics.
(Bournérias and Prat 2005, Delforge 1995, GIROS 2009, Pignatti 1982, Rossi 2002, Vakhrameeva et al. 2008).

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human

♦  Food - animal

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture

Bibliography [top]

Anthos. 2010. Information System of the plants of Spain. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC – Fundación Biodiversidad. Available at:

Association Tela Botanica. 2000–2010. Le reseau de la botanique francophone. Available at:

Bournérias, M. and Prat, D. (eds). 2005. Les Orchidées de France, Belgique et Luxembourg, 2ème édition. pp. 504. Biotope, Mèze.

Bundesamt für Naturschutz. 2010. FloraWeb. Bonn Available at:

Colling, G. 2005. Red List of the Vascular Plants of Luxembourg. Ferrantia 42.

CRSF/ZDSF. 2010. Online-Flora. Chambésy, Geneva Available at:

Delforge, P. 1995. Orchids of Britain and Europe. Delachaux et Niestlé SA, Lausanne.

Gärdenfors, U. 2010. Rödlistade arter i Sverige - The 2010 Red List of Swedish Species. ArtDatabanken, SLU, Uppsala.

GIROS. 2009. Orchidee d'Italia. Castello srl, Milano.

Holub, J. and Procházka, F. 2000. Red List of the Flora of the Czech Republic (state in the year 2000) [Červený seznam květeny České republiky (stav v roce 2000)]. Preslia 72: 187-230.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Király, G. (ed.). 2007. Vörös Lista: A magyarországi edényes flóra veszélyeztetett fajai [Red List of the Vascular Flora of Hungary]. pp. 73. Saját kiadás, Sopron.

Ludwig, G. and Schnittler, M. 1996. Red List of Threatened Plants in Germany (Rote Liste gefährdeter Pflanzen Deutschlands). Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn.

Moser, D., Gygax, A., Bäumler, B., Wyler, N. and Palese, R. 2002. Red List of the Threatened Ferns and Flowering Plants of Switzerland (Rote Liste der gefährdeten Farn- und Blütenpflanzen der Schweiz). Bundesamt für Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft, Bern; Zentrum des Datenverbundnetzes der Schweizer Flora, Chambésy; Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Chambésy.

Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet. 2010. Den virtuella floran. Stockholm Available at:

Nikolić, T. and Topić, J. (eds). 2005. Red Book of Vascular Flora of Croatia. Ministry of Culture, State Institute for Nature Protection, Republic of Croatia, Zagreb.

Pignatti, S. 1982. Flora d'Italia. Vol. 3. Edagricole, Bologna.

Plants For a Future. 2010. Plants For a Future. Available at: (Accessed: 10/04).

Rossi, W. 2002. Orchidee d'Italia. Ministero dell'ambiente e della tutela del territorio, Direzione conservazione della natura : Istituto nazionale per la fauna selvatica, Bologna.

The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2010. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Available at:

UICN France, MNHN, FCBN and SFO. 2010. Orchidées de France métropolitaine. La Liste rouge des espèces menacées en France. UICN France, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN), Fédération des Conservatoires Botaniques Nationaux (FCBN) and Société Française d'Orchidophilie (SFO), Paris.

Vakhrameeva, M.G., Tatarenko, I.V., Varlygina, G.K. and Zagulskii, M.N. 2008. Orchids of Russia and adjacent countries (within the borders of the former USSR). A. R. G. Gantner Verlag, Ruggell, Liechtenstein.

Citation: Rankou, H. 2011. Gymnadenia odoratissima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T175997A7166278. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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