Serapias neglecta subsp. apulica

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

Serapias orientalis ssp. apulica

Above: Serapias apulica - much shorter and more robust than Serapias vomeracea

This orchid is very similar to Serapias orientalis but is endemic to Puglia in Italy, where it occurs along the coast and on Monte Gargano. Identification can be tricky as Serapias vomeracea and Serapias cordigera both occur in the same places. The autonomous Serapias neglecta is reported from France, Italy, Corsica and Sardinia where it is localised and rare. The Plant List treats Serapias apulica as a subspecies of Serapias neglecta, giving the taxonomic name Serapias neglecta subsp. apulica.


Serapias apulica is a shorter and more robust plant than Serapias vomeracea growing to around 30cm tall.There are up to 7 narrow, pointed leaves at the base of the stem and smaller bract-like leaves higher up. Each inflorescence has up to 7 large flowers packed together. The flowers have a dense patch of whiteish hairs spreading down the lip from the base. The lip colour is generally paler than the brick-red sepals and petals with darker veins running vertically and laterally throughout.

Serapias apulica flower close up


Endemic to the coast of Puglia in Italy.


Serapias apulica grows in short, poor grassland that is dry-to-slightly-moist, on alkaline substrates, garrigue and on abandoned farmland in open, sunny positions. It is fairly localised but can occur in large colonies.

Flowering times

These orchids bloom from early March until the end of April, and the plants on this page were photographed on Monte Gargano in the middle of April.


The genus name Serapias comes from the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis, while the specific epithet apulica refers to the Puglia region of Italy.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2023) Wild Orchids of the Algarve - where, when and how to find them; First Nature e-book (Amazon Kindle format)

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

Angela Rossini and Giovanni Quiadamo (2003) Orchidee Spontanee nel Parco Nazionale del Gargano; Centrografico Francescano

Claudio Del Fuoco (2003) Orchidee del Gargano

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...

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