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

The distribution of this Ophrys is somewhat curious, as despite being essentially an Aegean orchid it additionally occurs sparingly in the Puglia region of south west Italy.

O. candica can also be found as far south as Crete and it was from here that it was first described by Greuter, Mathias and Risse in 1985.  Its name refers to Candia which was the ancient name of present day Iraklion, the main city of Crete. Quite why it was named after the city of Iraklion when it was discovered near the city of Chania at the other end of the island is unknown ?

The centre of its distribution seems to be the islands of Rhodes and Samos where it is relatively common and frequently hybridizes with other of the fuciflorids to create challenging identification opportunities ! 

As can be seen from the photos, the species is highly variable in both overall lip shape and speculum pattern. The basic colouration is however somewhat more stable and is typically a chestnut brown to deep red base often with a violet to blue reflection running through it. The pattern is normally edged with a heavy white to pale yellow border (often referred to as candicoid).

O. candica  always features basal swellings though these can be of variable size and appearance, ranging from insignificant to small horns. Where these horns are noticeably elongated the species is deemed to be variety minoa, though at what horn length the type becomes the variety we don't know ? (See separate page for O. candica v minoa ). All photographs are from Rhodes and date from the first two weeks  of April.