|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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E. veratrifolia was first described from Mount Elbrouz in the former USSR by Boissier and Hohenacker
in 1853 and is a member of the familiar E. palustris group. This is a small group containing only two members, which although sharing some physiological similarities, are morphologically very different speciesindeed.
This is an orchid with a wide and fragmented world range but in European terms is restricted to the island
of Cyprus. The species is also present in the Eastern Mediterranean countries of Anatolia, Israel, Lebanon
and the Sinai. For most European orchidologists however it is most familiar in Cyprus where there are two
distinct populations that thrive in two equally distinct habitats.
The first is centred on the Troodos Mountains where at an altitude of 1500 metres in late June the species is abundant in suitable wet sites. The second is a much rarer and smaller colony that exists in a lowland site in the Episkopi area and which can be found in flower as early as mid March. This outpost grows on a small section of chalky cliff where a higher level seepage runs down the face and thus maintains a local environment that is permanently moist even in its full sun position.
E. veratrifolia requires little description and is unlikely to be confused with any other orchid species. It can however be variable in terms of both plant and flower size with the later flowering mountain examples being both larger and with a denser inflorescence. The plants depicted here are all from the lowland site in Cyprus which are typically smaller and produce fewer flowers per stem.
The photographs date from the 20th of March.