John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys kotschyi

This species was first described by Fleischmann and Soo from Larnaca, Cyprus in 1928 and was named after Herr Kotschy, an eminent 19th century Austrian botanist.

O. kotschyi is endemic to the island of Cyprus and although it can be reasonably plentiful in its stations, it is highly localised and never abundant. Its stronghold near the salt marshes of the Akrotiri peninsula in Southern Cyprus has long been well known but it does occur sparingly in other locations both in Akrotiri and further inland, notably around Lefkara.

It is a highly distinctive orchid and despite the prescence of O. astarte, O. umbilicata and even O. rhodia it is unlikely to be confused with any other Cypriot Ophrys. There is however one rare exception to this general statement and this is the existence on the island of O. cretica, a morphologically similarspecies that could definitely create uncertainty. The two species although apparently not closely related, bear a striking  resemblance to one another, indeed there are some who feel the similarity is more than simply a morphological adaptation to the same pollinator. One of the significant differences is in the stigmatic cavity, which in O. cretica is almost entirely white with minimal dark markings, in O. kotschyi the reverse applies. It should however be stressed again that O. cretica is extremely rare in Cyprus.

O. kotschyi is generally a plant that thrives in a full sun position but can tolerate moderate shade where scrub has encroached on its habitat. The illustrations date from the the beginning of March and the species is normally past its best by the end of that month.