John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys bucephala
 
This species was first formally described in 1990 having previously been regarded as simply a large  form of the Mount Carmel Ophrys (O. attica), the name O. bucephala referring to the  flowers resemblance to the head of a bull.

It is a rare orchid  with a distribution confined to the northern Aegean,  principally the island of  Lesbos and even here it can be local or absent from large seemingly suitable areas.  The Lesbos  population is centred in the south west corner of the island around Plomari and a good search of  suitable sites along the westerly road out of that  picturesque  town  towards  Megalochori should  produce results. The Lesbos speciality Himantoglossum comperianum has also been noted in sites  along this route.

O. bucephala is a thickset Ophrys with large flowers and when found growing in association with its  relatives O. attica and O. umbilicata there can be little confusion about its identity. The orchid has  however been noted to hybridise with these two similar species and this clearly presents a much  bigger challenge with identification. O. umbilicata almost always has whiteish or pinkish sepals  whereas those of O. attica are generally green and therefore a hybridisation with O. bucephala  would be difficult to distinguish.

Habitat requirement is much the same as O. atticaand it similarly shows a tolerance of wetter soils.  All photos are from the Plomari region of  Lesbos  and  were  taken  during the first week of April.              







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