Leafless chin

Orchids are flowering plants that live in the rainforest in the wild. Their cultivation is possible at home. But there is an orchid that lives in our forest - Leafless chin up.

Leafless chin

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Leafless fenugreek (Epipógium aphýllum) belongs to the genus Fenugreek family. It combines all the famous orchids. The named genus is not diverse. It includes only 2 species. They are found in Eurasia, Africa and Australia. In Russia, the only species is growing.

Leafless chin is a chlorophyll-free perennial plant that has refused photosynthesis during development. Such a quirk of evolution determines the lifestyle of the flower. It parasitizes not on living trees, like tropical orchids, but on mycelium growing in the soil. Only in this way the pericardium can survive long and cold winters.

This orchid receives nutrients from fungi of certain species. Mycelium of the mycelium grows into the root system, and a saturation process occurs. Such relationships between the host and the plant using its vitality are defined by the term "myoheterotrophy". Visually visible only the stems with flowers.

Leafless chin occurs in Eurasia, Africa and Australia

According to the description, the stems of the orchid reach a height of 30 cm. They have a brownish-yellow color, and at equal distances are covered with barely noticeable single light scales. These are reduced leaves.

The inflorescence itself is located in the upper part of the stem. It includes from 2 to 8 medium-sized flowers. Yellowish flowers are decorated with pinkish, red or pale purple spots. First, the inflorescence brush looks wilted, then straightens. Flowers have a delicate aroma that is associated with the smell of a banana.

Reproduction and habitat

This unusual orchid propagates in two ways:

  • Vegetative. On the rhizome thickenings are formed, which are also called stolons. Stolons have a growth kidney, with the help of which a further increase in the root system occurs. This process is hidden from the eyes of the observer and requires a more thorough study. The root system is able to occupy a large area, as is the mycelium, which provides a breeding ground.
  • The seeds. Seed boxes are not always formed. Seeds are few. For them to sprout, the presence of certain types of soil fungi in the soil of mycelium. These conditions are far from always fulfilled; therefore, seed propagation is an auxiliary way for flower survival.

Flowering occurs in July and August, but not every year. Orchid lives and develops underground and can not make itself felt for several years. At some point, the necessary conditions are formed, and flowering stems appear on the surface. During mass flowering in a forest glade, several groups of flowers located separately from each other can be observed.

Leafless chinus prefers moist forests. It settles in shaded places with a thick layer of moist forest litter. He loves both coniferous and deciduous and mixed forests. It occurs in small swamps that are fed with running spring water. This defines its wide range.

Reproduction occurs by vegetative and seed methods

Distribution and Protection

The chin is found in the space from Western Europe and Asia Minor to Siberia and the Far East, as well as in Japan and China. In Russia, it grows in the forest zone of the non-chernozem zone of the European part of the country, in the North Caucasus and in the south of Siberia and the Far East. Despite such a vast territory, it is not often possible to meet it. This is due to both his secretive lifestyle and high demands on the quality of the environment.

The survival of this type of orchid is directly related to human activity. Deforestation, land reclamation drainage, construction of the road network - all this determines the reduction in the number of this type of orchid.

Leafless fennel is included in the USSR Red Book in 1978 and 1984. Currently, it is listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, and is also listed in the regional lists of rare and endangered species in 47 regions of the Russian Federation. Its status is defined as a species with a declining population, vulnerable.

Protection measures include the identification of plant communities where this orchid is common. In such areas should be limited economic activity. Livestock grazing is prohibited. Visits to these places have been reduced to a minimum.


Everyone is able to contribute to the preservation of the leafless chin: when meeting with him in the forest, you can not pick flowers. This will help preserve the wealth of nature.


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