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vascular plants







Orchids, because of their rarity and beauty, hold a special fascination for all naturalists. On Thásos the orchid flora consists of 27 confirmed species and a further five whose presence needs verifying. Some species will be familiar to botanists from north-western Europe, such as pyramidal orchid and autumn lady’s tresses, but there are also more exotic species including violet limodore and heart-flowered serapias. In damp lowland meadows loose-flowered orchids can be spectacular and abundant. During my visits I have rarely encountered other species - limodore in the chestnut woods above Panagia, Provence orchid in montane pastures among the conifers below Profitis Ilias, and horned orchid in the old olive groves on the slopes above Thassos Town. No doubt more observant botanists will find these and other orchid species more frequently but I think it’s true to say that they are localised and hence always a delight when stumbled upon.

Several Mediterranean/Aegean/Balkan field guides will provide an introduction to the orchids of the area. Kalopissis, Y.T. 1988. The orchids of Greece. Cretan Ecosystem RC. is available in Greek and English with maps and illustrations,  and, more specifically, Antonopoulos, Z. 2009. The bee orchids of Greece: the genus Ophrys. Mediterraneo Editions. There is also a website dedicated to Greek orchids, with a page specifically on the long-horned bee orchids of Thásos, and images of Greek orchids can be found here. Recently Petrou, N., Petrou, M. & Giannakoulias, M. Orchids of Greece (2011) have published the first complete reference guide to Greek orchids, including all taxa, with 212 species and subspecies described and illustrated.




Bug orchid Anacamptis fragrans (Pollini)

Loose-flowered orchid Anacamptis laxiflora Lamarck

Pink butterfly orchid Anacamptis papilionacea Linnaeus

Painted orchid Anacamptis picta (Loisel.)

Pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Linnaeus)

Holy orchid Anacamptis sancta (Lam.)

Narrow-leaved helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia (Linnaeus)

Red helleborine Cephalanthera rubra (Linnaeus)

Sack-carrying Dactylorhiza Dactylorhiza saccifera (Brongn.)

Broad-leaved helleborine Epipactis helleborine (Linnaeus)

Violet limodore Limodorum abortivum (Linnaeus)

Twayblade Neottia ovata (Linnaeus)

Bee orchid Ophrys apifera Hudson

Horned orchid Ophrys cornuta Steven

Dark bee orchid Ophrys fusca s.l. Link

Lesser yellow bee orchid Ophrys sicula Tineo

Bosom orchid Ophrys mammosa s.l. (Desf.)

Early spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes Miller

Naked man orchid Orchis italica Poiret

Provence orchid Orchis provincialis Balbis

Four-spotted orchid Orchis quadripunctata Ten.

Monkey orchid Orchis simia Lamarck

Greater butterfly orchid Platanthera chlorantha (Custer)

Ploughshare orchid Serapias bergonii E.G. Camus

Heart-flowered serapias Serapias cordigera (Linnaeus)

Ploughshare orchid Serapias vomeracea s.l. (Burm.)

Autumn lady’s tresses Spiranthes spiralis (Linnaeus)




Dense-flowered orchid Neotinea maculata (Desf.)

Toothed orchid Neotinea tridentata (Scopoli)

A spider orchid Ophrys atrata (Lindley)

A woodcock orchid Ophrys bremifera Steven

A spider orchid Ophrys epirotica (Renz)