John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys attica
 

As its name suggests O. attica  was first described by Boissier and Orphanides in 1859 from the Attica region of eastern Greece.
 
Along with its close cousin O. umbilicata, this plant was previously better known as the Mount Carmel orchid and over the years has been described as a variety or sub-species of several Ophrys  including very recently, O. scolopax.  Its rightful grouping and nomenclature is subject to ongoing  expert debate but with few firm results at present.  Like all good controversies we are confident  the story will run for some while yet.

It is currently placed within the O. umbilicata  group, all of whose members reside in the eastern Mediterranean and near east. The range of O. attica extends from Southern Albania, through Greece and the Aegean to Anatolia. The seven current members of the group share distinct morphological similarites but O. attica really only shares a significant range overlap with O. umbilicata and differentiating the two is reasonably straightforward by means of their sepal colouration. The former always has green sepals whereas the latter can range from white to pink, though hybridization can create populations of intermediates. Its habitat requirement seems undemanding and it may be found in most calcareous environments up to about 1000m.  

O. attica grows up to about 30cms and its often dense inflorescence may contain up to a dozen  flowers, more usually however its a lower growing plant with some 4 to 8. The photos are from the Aegean island of Lesbos and date from early April. 










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