Orchids of Lesvos

Lesvos orchid 200Recommended field guide
Orchids of Lesvos by Brian and Eileen Anderson (in Greek)

Lesbos Orchid Orphrys lesbis
an island endemic,
near Andissa, April 2009
© Steve Dudley


Lesvos is also well-known for its orchids. Below is a complete list of orchids found on the island. In my book, A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos, there is also a checklist which includes local flowering periods for many of commoner species.

Paul Manning (Wildlife of Lesvos) has built an orchid site guide. He has annotated a map of the island to show key sites. This includes lists of species found at each site with some notes on flowering periods for rarer or sought-after species, and species’ names within the site lists linked to his own photos on his online flickr album. Its a great resource and one I’m sure that anyone interested in orchids will want to use when on the island. The online Google Map is best viewed in map mode.

Highlighted names will link to individual species images on Paul Manning’s Lesvos orchid flickr gallery. Note, some species have more than one photo so its worth looking at Paul’s site in more detail.

English names are difficult with orchids and you will see some have no English name, some share the same name. It is always safer to refer to them by their scientific name.

with thanks to Paul Manning

Click on the highlighted species names for photo


Species name Scientific name
Large White Helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium
Sword-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia
Red Helleborine Cephalanthera rubra
Spurred Helleborine Cephalanthera epipactoides
Small-leaved Helleborine Epipactis microphylla
Turkish Helleborine Epipactis turcica
Broad-leaved Helleborine Epipactis helleborine
Dense-leaved Helleborine Epipactis densifolia
Persian Helleborine Epipactis persica
Violet Limodore Limodorum abortivum
Violet Limodore Limodorum abortivum var. rubrum
Violet Limodore Limodorum abortivum var. albiflora
Twayblade Listera ovata
Autumn Lady’s Tresses Spiranthes spiralis
Holmboë’s Butterfly Platanthera holmboei
Roman Orchid Dactylorhiza romana
Roman Orchid Dactylorhiza romana var. albifora
Small-flowered Orchid Serapias parviflora
Politis’ Plough-share Orchid Serapias vomeracea
Loose-flowered Plough-share Orchid Serapias bergonii
Plough-share Orchid Serapias vomeracea
Single-flowered Carican Orchid Serapias carica
Carican Orchid Carican Orchid var. monantha
Heart-flowered Orchid Serapias cordigera
Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis
Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis var. albiflora
Bog Orchid Orchis palustris
Elegant Orchid Orchis elegans
False Loose-flowered Orchid Orchis pseudolaxiflora
Dinsmore’s Orchid Orchis dinsmorei
Loose-flowered Orchid Orchis laxiflora
Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio
Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio var. albiflora
Lesser Green-winged Orchid Orchis picta
Lesser Green-winged Orchid Orchis var. albiflora
Albanian Orchid Orchis albanica
Syrian Orchid Orchis syriaca
Pink Butterfly Orchid Orchis papilionacea ssp. heroica
Pink Butterfly Orchid Orchis papilionacea ssp. heroica var. albiflora
Fan-lipped Orchid Orchis collina
Fan-lipped Orchid Orchis collina var. albiflora
Bug Orchid Orchis coriophora
Fragrant Orchid Orchis fragrance
Holy Orchid Orchis sancta
Holy Orchid Orchis sancta var. albiflora
Four-spotted Orchid Orchis quadripunctata
Sezik’s Orchid Orchis sezikiana
Anatolian Orchid Orchis anatolica
Pinewood Orchid Orchis pinetorum
Provence Orchid Orchis provincialis
Man Orchid Orchis anthropophorum
Monkey Orchid Orchis simia
Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica
Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica var. albiflora
Milky Orchid Orchis lactea
Toothed Orchid Orchis tridentata
Changed Toothed Orchid Orchis tridentata var. commutata
Dense-flowered Orchid Orchis intacta
Komper’s Orchid Himantoglossum comperiana
Giant Orchid Himantoglossum robertianum
Eastern Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum affine
Bolle’s Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum montis-tauri
Balkan Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum caprinum
Vera’s Elegant Orchid Himantoglossum verae
Rainbow Orchid Ophrys iricolor
Mesarian Orchid Ophrys mesaritica
Summer Orchid Ophrys calocaerina
Athena-Lindia’s Orchid Ophrys lindia
Ashy-loving Orchid Ophrys cinereophila
Attavyros’ Orchid Ophrys attaviria
Paros’ Orchid Ophrys parosica
Pelinaio’s Orchid Ophrys pelinaea
Saint Isidora’s Orchid Ophrys sancti-isidorii
Blitopertha Beetle Orchid Ophrys blitopertha
Persephone’s Orchid Ophrys persephonae
Phrygana Orchid Ophrys phryganae
Sicilian Orchid Ophrys sicula
Mirror Orchid Ophrys speculum
Lion-maned Orchid Ophrys leochroma
Hairy Orchid Ophrys villosa
Ceto’s Orchid Ophrys ceto
Small Orchid Ophrys cornutula
Dodecanese Orchid Ophrys dodekanensis
Masticohoria Orchid Ophrys masticorum
Elizabeth’s Small-flowered Orchid Ophrys minutula
Horsefly Orchid Ophrys oestrifera
Orphanides’ Orchid Ophrys orphanidea
Phrygian Orchid Ophrys phrygia
Homer’s Orchid Ophrys homeri
Attican Orchid Ophrys attica
Bull-headed Orchid Ophrys bucephala
Carmel Orchid Ophrys umbilicata
Reinhold’s Orchid Ophrys reinholdii
Lesbos Orchid (endemic) Ophrys lesbis
Horseshoe Orchid Ophrys ferrum-equinum
Lipped Orchid Ophrys labiosa
Mammosa Orchid Ophrys mammosa
Spruner’s Orchid Ophrys spruneri
Aesklepios’ Orchid Ophrys aesculapi

The following species may exist on the island, but great care is needed in their identification:

Anacomptorchis lesbiensis (hybrid)

A downloadable version of the above list with flowering periods available here.

The above list was prepared by Paul Manning (Wildlife of Lesvos) and constructed using:

Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by Pierre Delforge
The Bee Orchids of Greece by Zissis Antonopoulos
Field Guide to Orchids of Britain and Europe by Karl Peter Buttler
Orchids of Lesvos by Y.A. Karatzas & A. Karatza
Orchids of Lesvos by Brian & Eileen Anderson

Online resources

Paul Manning’s flickr album of Lesvos orchids
Online European orchid ID guide

My thanks to Paul Manning for his help in compiling the above list, the orchid info in my book, and for developing his excellent orchid site guide. See Paul’s Wildlife of Lesvos website which contains photo galleries including many orchids.

Updated 29 Dec 2013


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