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Anacamptis boryi

A. boryi was first described by Reichenbach from Messinia, Greece in 1851, the species being named after J. Bory de Saint-Vincent, a French soldier and botanist. This species is something of a mystery as whilst clearly morphologically close to A. morio, its origins are not at all well understood. Many believe this is a hybridogenous taxon with A. picta and O. quadripunctata as progenitors but others, including Delforge doubt this. It is also close to A. israelitica and shares with it the unusual characteristic of flowering inversely IE:- from top to bottom.

It is a rare and threatened orchid, growing in full sun or light shade on calcareous or schistose soils and always in relatively small numbers. The species is widely quoted as preferring moist to damp conditions but in the experience of the authors it is perfectly tolerant of all but the driest situations. A. boryi is endemic to southern Greece, with a disjunct distribution from just north of the Corinth Canal to Euboea, the Cyclades, Peloponnese and Crete.

It is a slender orchid which bears few flowers per stem, ten being a typical number and fifteen an absolute maximum. Variation is small and although white or pink flowers have been recorded, mauve is the usual colour. It flowers from April to May and as has already been mentioned, the flowers at the top of the inflorescence are the first to open, this being an important characteristic that greatly assists with identification.

The illustrations are from Crete and date from early to mid April.