Platanthera bifolia (L.) Rich. - syn.Habenaria bifolia (L.) R. Br.; Orchis bifolia L. - Orchidaceae
lesser butterfly-orchid, Zweiblättrige Waldhyazinthe
Orchid, up to 40cm tall, native to Europe, West Asia and North Africa; stem erect, 2-leaved; leaves basal, subopposite, spatulate-elliptic, oblong, or elliptic; flowers fragrant, white, greenish white, or green.
„Variation in scent chemistry of both Platanthera bifolia and P. chlorantha was considerable: different scent chemotypes were found among individuals as well as populations. Mainly linalool, lilac aldehydes and alcohols, geraniol, and methyl benzoate distinguished the chemotypes.“
[Fragrance chemotypes of Platanthera (Orchidaceae)‐the result of adaptation to pollinating moths?., Tollsten, L., Bergström, L. G., Nordic Journal of Botany, Vol.13(6), 1993, 607-613]
Electrophysiologically active compounds from P. bifolia flowers are benzyl benzoate, benzyl salicylate, cinnamyl alcohol, lilac aldehydes, methyl benzoate and methyl salicylate.
[Volatiles from flowers of Platanthera bifolia (Orchidaceae) attractive to the silver Y moth, Autographa gamma (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)., Plepys, D., Ibarra, F., Löfstedt, C., Oikos, Vol.99(1), 2002, 69-74]
„Although the German popular name 'Waldhyacinthe' (wood hyacinth) and many literature sources ascribe a hyacinth-like scent to this orchid, it is more reminescent of certain lily nd honeysuckle species and, in very general terms, posesses a basic scent concept of the 'white-floral' type.“
This scent is mainly attributable to linalool (18.8% of the headspace), methyl benzoate (58.0%) and methyl salicylate (2.4%), with special significance ascribed to the trace components like lilac aldehydes, lilac alcohols and their acetates, cinnamic aldehyde, geraniol, eugenol and vanillin.
[Roman Kaiser, The scent of orchids: olfactory and chemical investigations., Basel 1993, 177-179 and 240-241]
Platanthera bifolia, Lindman, C.A.M., Bilder ur Nordens Flora, vol.2 t.406 (1922-1926)
© Rolf Marschner (2006), www.botanische-spaziergaenge.at