Nature Spotlight: The Tongue Orchid

Tongue orchid in Malta

Nature Spotlight: The Tongue Orchid

The tongue orchid, scientifically known as Serapias lingua, gets its name from the shape of its lip, which resembles a tongue. The tongue orchid is native to the Mediterranean region, but observations of this species in Malta hadn’t been registered for over 100 years, when at the end of March of 2021, a cluster of 15 plants or so was once again observed in the north of Malta.

Its lip is usually a deep purple or maroon colour, while the petals and sepals are green or brown with reddish veins. The flower blooms in spring, typically from April to June, and can reach a height of about 20 to 40 centimetres.

In Malta, all orchids are considered a protected species due to its rarity and vulnerability to habitat loss. It is highly valued for its aesthetic appeal and ecological importance. The orchid plays a crucial role in pollination, attracting various insects with its enticing scent and nectar. It is important to remember that these orchids should not be picked or disturbed, as they are protected by law.

20Twenty offers Mindful Nature Photography walks with a professional where you can take in some breathtaking views and enjoy some of Malta’s indigenous nature up close. For more information or to book this activity, please contact us on [email protected].


Text and image by: Johan Siggesson