Serapias bergonii

Tongue orchid                                                                                              Αλετράκι

Orchidaceae - the orchid family                                                                      Monocot


4-6cm 15-30cm                                                      JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

These curious orchids stand out clearly against their background of green spring vegetation. The flowers vary in their depth of colour, some are deep reddish-purple and other almost white; the bracts and hood have darker parallel veins. The flowers are arranged in a spikes, each in the axil of a bract which are similar in colour and longer than the flowers. The flowers have the characteristic structure of the serapias with an elongated hood formed by the fusion of  over a long lip which is angled downwards, which gives them the common name of tongue orchids, although they are not the only orchids with this epithet. The tongue is very hairy.

There is great variation in the serapias which hybridise freely and species can be difficult to identify.

Orchis italicus
Sawfly orchidOrchis_italica.htmlOrchis_italica.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0
Serapias cordigera
Heart flowered tongue orchidSerapias_cordigera.html