Samos Orchid Hunting

During my 10-day stay on Samos, I used a Garmin GPS and the Skai 1:50,000 Map to research and locate good orchid sites, after some in-depth research of possible species for April and where they might be located.  By the end of the trip I had visited 39 different sites.  The best of these produced over 10 species each, while some were notable also for being the only locations where certain species could be located.  I also had with me a copy of The Bee Orchids of Greece by Zissis Antonopoulos, and was fortunate to find myself staying in the same hotel as Monika Hirth, a specialist in the bee orchids of Greece.

The commonest species discovered were as follows:

Ophrys sicula: pretty much everywhere, and easily overlooked as the flowers are small and yellow, like quite a lot of the other common wildflower species

Orchis italica: the distinctive pink pompom flowers were frequent at the roadside

Serapias bergonii: the commonest of the Tongue Orchids, equally at home in low-altitude meadows, higher-altitude scrub, and roadsides

Orchis anatolica: another species frequently seen at the roadside

Ophrys iricolor: reasonably common at the better sites, though its flowering period was mostly over

Other species in bud that would probably have dominated the scene in later April and into May were Anacamptis pyramidalis and Orchis sancta (I only found two plants of the latter with open flowers, though hundreds were in bud all over the island)

Ophrys pelinaea at the roadside:

Ophryspelinaearoadside

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