Ophrys fuciflora subsp. candica - the White Ophrys

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

White ophrys


This orchid is often simply referred to as Ophrys candica. It has a large, square undivided lip and its main distinguishing feature is the speculum which has a marbled appearance and is often predominantly white.

The plant grows up to 40cm in height and each inflorescence carries 2 - 7 large flowers (exceptionally up to nine flowers have been reported)

Ophrys candica close-up


This orchid is known to occur in Italy, in the Aegean, and in Crete. In Italy it is thought to hybridise with Ophrys apulica, sometimes forming large hybrid swarms. Hybridisation makes accurate identification difficult and, therefore, the full extent of its territory.


The White Ophrys is not too particular about its habitat, growing on both alkaline and acidic substrates. It also tolerates moist or dry conditions and grows successfully in both mid-shade or open sunny positions.

Flowering times

Ophrys candica flowers in April and May.

The plants pictured on this page were photographed in Crete in early April.


The genus name Ophrys comes from Greek and means 'eyebrow' - a reference to the hairy fringe of the lip of the flower of many orchids in this genus. The specific epithet candica refers to Candia, an ancient name for the city of Iraklion, on the island of Crete where this orchid was first recorded.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Henrik AErenlund Pedersen & Niels Faurholdt (2007) Ophrys - The Bee Orchids of Europe; Kew

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black

Fielding, Turland and Mathew (2005) Flowers of Crete; Kew

Sue Parker's latest ebook is a revised and enlarged edition of Wild Orchids in The Burren. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Sue Parker's new ebook is a comprehensive and fully revised edition of her acclaimed field guide to the Wild Orchids of Wales. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Wild Orchids of the Algarve, how, when and where to find them

Sue Parker's 5-star acclaimed field guide to the Wild Orchids of the Algarve is now available as an ebook. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.

Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.

© 1995 - 2024 First Nature: a not-for-profit volunteer-run resource

Please help to keep this free resource online...

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - Links policy