Himantoglossum hircinum

Bocks- belt (Himantoglossum hircinum )

The Bocks- belt (Himantoglossum hircinum ), also called Bocksorchis, a showy, handsome plant of the genus, the belt tongues ( Himantoglossum ) in the orchid family (Orchidaceae), which occurs in the warmer areas of Central Europe and in recent years, is a spreading has experienced its site.


The name Himantoglossum is derived from the Greek words ίμάς himas = belt, γλώσσα glossum = tongue and hircinum from the Latin = hircus goat. The German name means basically nothing more than the botanical name: After Bock stinking belt tongue. In addition, are and were the names: Horny goat (Alsace ), Bockshödlein (Alsace ) and Horny Wurz (Alsace ).


The Bocks- belt tongue is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches the plant height of 25 to 100 cm, very strong specimens also be higher. This Geophyt forms as Überdauerungsorgan large, oblong- oval tubers. The leaves are 7-15 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. Even before the start of flowering time they begin to wilt.

The inflorescence is floriferous, with larger plants, it can be up to about 100 flowers. The flowers smell strongly of goat. The outer and inner bracts are a helmet tilted together with a greenish to brownish white color. The lip is three-lobed, curled at the edge and at the base weißlichgrün with red dots provided. The middle lobe is 3-6 cm long, colored green to brown. In the closed flower he is curled or folded. After flowering it is first rotated spirally and only slightly twisted later. The top is split more or less deep. The side flaps 10 to 15 mm long.

The flowering period begins according to the climate in middle Europe in warm years like 2003 already in early May. They usually begins in mid- May and ends in mid to late June.

The foliation is between the end of summer and beginning of autumn and is already largely completed by winter. This property is due to the origin of the parts of Europe with a Mediterranean climate. Severe chill occasionally leads to leaf necrosis, but not hurt usually the plant if they remain in small areas.

Chromosome number

The Bocks- belt tongue has a diploid set of chromosomes with a chromosome number of 2n = 36


The plants are generally not very durable. The stronger the plant, the more likely it is that they do not or only very weakly appears in the following autumn. You can bloom one to four times, in rare cases, five times before she has her energy reserves depleted to the point that it is received. The number of flowering plants vary widely in their locations from year to year, more or less.

The pollen masses of flowers are connected by a yellow stalks with the common Klebdrüse. Pollinators are solitary bees. The flowering period begins according to the climate in middle Europe in warm years like 2003 already in early May. They usually begins in mid- May and ends in mid to late June.

The fruits are capsules. The seeds spread as granules flyer. The orchid seed has no nutritive tissue available. Therefore Germination occurs only when infected by a root fungus ( see: mycorrhiza ). Despite the size and mass of the plant is the period from the first, delicate foliage leaf to the adult, blühreifen plant is relatively short compared to smaller orchids. Fruit maturity is in August.

It is preferred to dry grasslands, poor grass, orchards to more or less steep slopes facing west, south or east. Also on unmaintained, not too scrubby areas they can be found. Occasionally, it also grows in dense but sparse bushes with mossy ground. You can also quickly take in abandoned vineyards foot, which still have a ruderal character and their soils but are sufficiently low in nitrogen.

  • Association Mesobromion
  • Association Geranion sanguinei


The Bocks- belt tongue is spread from the western Mediterranean to Central Europe, and in places it is rare, but can occur very numerous.

She is a Florenelement the Western and Central Mediterranean, west - sub-Mediterranean, Central and South -Atlantic, south - sub-Atlantic and south- central European flora zones.

In Germany, the Bocks- belt tongue occurs mainly in Baden- Württemberg, Rhineland -Palatinate, Saarland and North Bavaria. A few locations there are in Hesse, Thuringia, south of Lower Saxony and Saxony -Anhalt. The type spreads slowly but steadily towards the north.

In Switzerland, the Bocks- belt tongue from Lake Constance along the Rhine, circulated to Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Geneva with gaps. From there she has coming up the Rhone Valley at very few locations spread.

Nature protection and hazard

Conservation Status: In Germany fully protected.

  • Red Lists

Since the 1990s, an increased spread of this species is observed. The reason is the global warming. She has now created in areas where the winters were formerly strictly to more suitable climatic conditions. There were indeed plants already observed sporadically in the past, but mostly disappeared and could not establish stable populations. Very cold, snowless winters can shrink again in the peripheral areas of their range the occurrence.

In order to alert the public to its privileged nature, the buck strap end of the working groups of Native Orchids (AHO ) in 1999 was voted the "Orchid of the Year".


The valid name is Himantoglossum hircinum (L.) Spreng. 1826th Linnaeus described it as Satyrium hircinum L. 1753.

Satyrium today is the genus name of a mainly occurring in southern Africa orchid.

The following synonyms are described:

  • Orchis hircina (L.) Crantz 1769
  • Loroglossum hircinum (L.) Rich. 1817
  • Aceras hircinum (L.) Lindl. 1835

Various types of belt tongues were counted as subspecies of this kind in the past, now they have their own species status.


Flowers open different

Frozen leaf rosette in winter

Very strong, high driving plant

Inflorescence in heyday, June 12, 1999 in Thuringia

Single flower, June 12, 1999, Thuringia

Himantoglossum hircinum Shown in: Otto Wilhelm Thomé: "Flora of Germany, Austria and Switzerland," Gera ( 1885)