|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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This Serapias was first described from Palermo, Sicily in 1837 and its name appropriately means small flowered - it is one of three species that make up the S. parviflora group.
Although S. bergonii populations sometimes produce plants that are small lipped, the overall flower
and hood configuration rarely reproduces the same appearance as S. parviflora and it's usually a relatively easy Serapias to distinguish .
This is not a common species and unlike many of its relatives is rarely found in significant colonies. For this reason it is probably an under recorded plant, being overlooked amongst drifts of its more prolific cousins. Its range is large, covering a similar area to that of S. lingua IE :- from Spain and Portugal through North Africa and the Mediterranean to the Aegean but also including an unusual Atlantic outpost in the Canary Islands.
Another and more surprising outpost is on the coast of Cornwall, though the means of its hop across the English Channel from Brittany are a matter of considerable debate. Unfortunately, no matter how the species found its way to the UK, its adopted site is far from secure and agricultural pressures are now jeopardizing the plants future. It has failed to appear recently.
The illustrations come from Rhodes, Sicily, Monte Argentario in Tuscany and the Gargano peninsula. They
all date from the month of April but the species may be found in flower right through to June.