John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Serapias politisii
 

This Serapias was first described by Renz from Corfu in 1928 and it was named in honour of the Athens scholar, Kirios. V. Politis.

   
S. politisii is thought to be the result of an hybridization between S. bergonii and S. parviflora which has seemingly retained features of both these species, most notably the latters ability to self pollinate. Flower size is intermediate between the two parents but other features show a significant degree of variability,  particularly in the configuration of the inflorescence. Most commonly however it takes the form of a tallish, spindly stem topped by a lax cluster of two to six flowers. Colouration is another feature subject to a degree of variation and although it normally exhibits the ubiquitous Serapias reddish grey, it can sometimes reveal its S. bergonii lineage and throw up yellow and orange plants.
 
This is not a common species and unlike many of its relatives is not found in large colonies. For this reason it's probably an under recorded orchid, being overlooked amongst drifts of its more prolific cousins. Its range is relatively small and disjunct, being known with certainty from Corfu and the adjacent Greek coastline as far south as the  Gulf of Corinth. It has also been found in the central Aegean basin and  interestingly another outlying population exists in the region of Puglia on the east coast of Italy. The species is currently being researched as part of a biological study into disjunct populations. Work so far suggests that Italian and Greek communities are of the same stock and originally not separated.

The pictures are from Puglia, Italy and northern Greece, dating from the beginning of May.    











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