This orchid has a deep yellow coloured lip with lighter petals and sepals. It is a strange, small plant that appears to be almost weighted down by the the size of its flowers which seem to be completely disproportionate to the rest of the plant - see below.
This orchid is considered by some to be a subspecies of Orchis provincialis with which it is frequently confused. They both occur in the same habitats which adds to the confusion, but Orchis pauciflora is a rarer find. The leaves of Orchis pauciflora are unmarked and the lip of the flower has a distinctly ragged-looking edge and is flatter than that of Orchis provincialis.
The plant grows up to 30 cm in height but is typically shorter - around 10 cm. It tolerates dry, stony habitats that are calcareous, and sometimes grows in light, open woodland and grassy places. Orchis pauciflora is distributed in the eastern and central Mediterranean region, but its exact territories are unknown due to frequent confusion with Orchis provincialis.