|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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O. prisca was first described by Hautzinger from Iraklion, Crete in 1976 and its name
This species is endemic to the island of Crete, where although widely distributed, it is a very rare orchid indeed. It is restricted to open woodland in mountainous areas with calcareous substrates. Plants similar to O. prisca have been described from Turkey and
northern Lebanon but have not as yet been firmly identified as being of this species.
This Ophrys has been placed within the O. mascula group and forms part of the O. anatolica sub grouping which includes the very similar O. patens. Both of these species
share the charateristic sepals with green spotted centres and shiny green leaves. O. prisca is unlikely to be confused with other Cretan species although darker forms of O. sitiaca could sometimes create a doubt. It would be unusual however that they would share similar habiat as O. sitiaca prefers full sun situations.
The single picture here was taken many years ago on the northern slopes of the Samaria
Gorge which was then one of its strongholds. It's understood that due to the increase in tourists visiting this area, the site no longer supports a sizable population.