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

O. samiotissa was first described from Samos by Hirth and Paulus in 2011 and is a member of the O. heldreichii group of Ophrys. Its name translates loosely to "daughter of Samos", where it is perhaps the commonest fuciflorid orchid on the island.

This newly recognized Ophrys is at home in most calcareous and neutral habitats, from arid stony conditions in full sun to shady pine woodland. It is probably most at home in open garrigue and abandoned terraces where it can be found individually or in loose groups. It is widespread across the island, flowering from early April until early May at which time its appearance coincides with that of O. ethemeae and the first flush of O. samia. It is easily distinguished from the latter by its significantly smaller flower size but its variable appearance can create some difficulty separating it from the similarly proportioned albeit less common O. ethemeae.

O. samiotissa can vary considerably in lip shape, appearing scolopaxoid, tri-lobed or fuciflorid whereas O. ethemeae is invariably quadrangular with small basal swellings unlike the relatively long outwardly pointing horns that are a distinctive characteristic of O. samiotissa. It can be a tall plant, growing to around 50cms and carrying up to ten flowers widely spaced up the stem. Colouration ranges from light to dark brown, often with a yellowish hue and a specular pattern that may be either simple or complex. The lip is ringed by a complete band of light coloured marginal hair, though this may often be attenuated, particularly at the distal end.  

The pictures date from the end of April at a time when the plants were beginning to fade.