This orchid is endemic to the mountains of Crete and is both rare and localised.
In appearance, Orchis sitiaca is very similar to Orchis Anatolica and Orchis quadripunctata, and molecular studies confirm their close relationship. Identification based on the appearance (morphology) of Orchis Anatolica and Orchis sitiaca is very tricky indeed - our observation was that, of the two, Orchis sitiaca is a more robust looking plant with somewhat larger flowers. The basal leaves are more erect, and on some plants, marked with darker green spots - see below. The difference in the appearance of the flowers is more pronounced with longer sepals and a significantly longer lip which is ' folded back' making it appear much narrower when viewed from the front.
Orchis sitiaca grows up to 40cm in height.m It flowers from the end of February through to the beginning of April.
The pictures on this page were taken in Crete in mid April, at Spili.