John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Orchis anatolica

O. anatolica was first described by Boissier from Carie, Anatolia in 1844 and the origin of its name needs  little explanation.

This is an eastern Mediterranean species with a range from the Cyclades in the west to Iran in the east and  encompassing many of the Aegean islands as well as Crete and Cyprus. It grows in modest and scattered  colonies and although widespread, is both localized and not particularly common. O. anatolica is a plant that  avoids full sun, preferring woodland edges and clearings, tolerating calcareous, neutral and occasionally mildly acidic substrates.

Despite its resemblance to a heavily spotted O. quadripunctata, its rightful status as a separate species has  now been acknowledged by most authorities. O. anatolica readily hybridizes and where the two species meet, intermediates are almost inevitable. There were sporadic but regular reports of these hybrids throughout its range and some authorities believe they have stabilized sufficiently to be given full species status as O. sezikiana.  In Cyprus O. quadripunctata is no longer thought to exist, having been subsumed as a distinct species by the hybridogenous O. sezikiana.

O. anatolica is distinctive but on Crete may be easily confused with O. sitiaca and on Cyprus with O. troodi. Reference to the species pages in this site will assist differentiation.

The pictures come from several Aegean islands and Crete, all dating from the beginning of April at which time many of the plants were already past their best.