John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Serapias nurrica

S. nurrica was first described by Corrias in 1982 from the Nurra region of Sardinia and is a member of the S. parviflora group of Serapias.

This is a species with a restricted Mediterranean range, being recorded only from Sardinia, Corsica, Minorca, Sicily and Calabria, where it is both very local and very rare, particularly so in the last three of these areas. It is a plant that seldom ventures far from the coast and is most commonly found in scrubby garrigue or open pine woods and plantations. S. nurrica is invariably a plant of acidic soils but is less particular about light conditions, being found in both heavy shade and full sun, though unlike other species of its genus, is seldom found in large numbers, growing either as a solitary plant or in very small colonies.

As can be seen from the photos, the white margin around the epichile is diagnostic and clearly precludes mistaken identity, this does not however mean that the species is not variable. This variability is to a great extent linked to its growing environment, with the the more robust, darker red flowered plants, being found in open, full sun positions and the more slender, green tinted specimens confined to woodland habitats with less light penetration.

S. nurrica is an IUCN Red List threatened species which has suffered hugely from tourist development along its favoured coastal habitat, it is also encumbered with the reputation of possessing a particularly nutritious tuber that produces a high quality salep.