John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Anacamptis coriophora


A. coriophora was first described from Louvain (Belgium) in 1753 and its name refers to its insect like smell, a feature which accounts for its common name of the Bug Orchid.

This is a highly distinctive orchid, but one which closely resembles its fellow group member A. fragrans. Some European botanists refuse to accept a distinction between them and certainly from a purely morphological standpoint this position can be easily understood. In Greece in particular the two species seem to have become convergent and difficult to separate. There are however some features that assist with identification, the first being very dissimilar habitat preferences with A. coriophora being exclusively a plant of damp or even wet situations, often on neutral or slightly acidic soils where it is frequently found growing with A. laxiflora, a plant that enjoys much the same conditions. By contrast A. fragrans is strictly a species of dry, calcareous substrates in full sun.

A second feature that is said to distinguish the species is the scent which in the case of A. coriophora is a sickly, foetid smell whilst in A. fragrans, as its name suggests, the scent is more aromatic and reminiscent of vanilla. These olfactory dissimilarities are difficult to detect however and the authors have never found this a particularly easy or reliable differentiator. Further differing characteristics are colouration which in A. coriophora is normally a darker more vinous shade of red and finally stature, with the appearance of A. coriophora  being more robust with a less dense inflorescence.

This is a relatively late flowerer and even in the warmer areas of its range, it does not appear until late April. The pictures are from northern Greece and Samos, dating from the beginning of May.