|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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was first formally described in 1990 having previously been regarded as
simply a large form of the Mount Carmel Ophrys (O. attica), the name O. bucephala referring to the flowers resemblance to the head of a bull.
It is a rare orchid with a distribution confined to the northern Aegean, principally the island of Lesbos and even here it can be local or absent from large seemingly suitable areas. The Lesbos population is centred in the south west corner of the island around Plomari and a good search of suitable sites along the westerly road out of that picturesque town towards Megalochori should produce results. The Lesbos speciality Himantoglossum comperianum has also been noted in sites along this route.
O. bucephala is a thickset Ophrys with large flowers and when found growing in association with its relatives O. attica and O. umbilicata there can be little confusion about its identity. The orchid has however been noted to hybridise with these two similar species and this clearly presents a much bigger challenge with identification. O. umbilicata almost always has whiteish or pinkish sepals whereas those of O. attica are generally green and therefore a hybridisation with O. bucephala would be difficult to distinguish.
Habitat requirement is much the same as O. atticaand it similarly shows a tolerance of wetter soils. All photos are from the Plomari region of Lesbos and were taken during the first week of April.