|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 smaller relatives O. attica and O. umbilicata, there can be little confusion about its identity. Hybridisation does occur but the influence of O. umbilicata is usually detectable with its whitish or pinkish sepals, whereas those of O. attica are generally green and therefore much more difficult to distinguish.
Habitat requirement is much the same as O. attica and 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.