Himantoglossum comperianum found in Samos during study visit

A lone Himantoglossum comperianum was found by members of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, the Association for the Conservation of Antalya Orchids and Biodiversity and Sails-For-Science Foundation, participating in a field trip on Mt. Karvounis, during a two-day study visit in Samos, Greece, held in the framework of the project.

The Ghost Orchid, one of the most spectacular species of the eastern Mediterranean, reaches the western limit of its distribution on the islands of the northern Aegean and does not occur anywhere else in Europe. In Greece the only stable population occurs in Lesvos, on Mt. Olympos. In recent years, with the increase of research, there have been few sporadic records from Samos, usually of solitary individuals. There are also some old records from Rhodes and Ikaria.

In Turkey the Ghost Orchid is severely threatened by collection, because it has very large tubers, much sought after by salep producers.

During the filed trip, the participants recorded a total of 15 species, among them the endemic Dactylorhiza pythagorae, which, unfortunately, was not yet in bloom. The second day of the study visit was devoted to presentations about the legal framework of biodiversity and flora protection in Europe and Greece, as well as the status of wild orchids and their conservation in both countries.

Photo 1: Members of the team photographing the H. comperianum, Miltos Gletsos

Photo 2: Himantoglossum comperianum, Pinelopi Delipetrou