Ophrys argolica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Orchidales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Ophrys argolica H.Fleischm.
Common Name(s):
English Argolic Ophrys
Ophrys ferrum-equinum ssp. argolica (H.Fleischm.) Soó
Taxonomic Source(s): WCSP. 2015. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: In some areas in southern Peloponnese, Ophrys argolica forms hybrids with O. spruneri and in the northern parts hybrids with O. oestrifera.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-04-22
Assessor(s): Rankou, H.
Reviewer(s): Fay, M., Bazos, I. & Bilz, M.

European regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)
EU 27 regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)

Ophrys argolica has most of its distribution area in southern Greece. The extent of occurrence is under 20,000 km² and the area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 500 km². The population trend is unknown but the scattered localities host only very small populations. The species is threatened by uncontrolled building work, tourist pressures, human influences and the use of herbicides and pesticides which reduce the pollinators. Therefore, Ophrys argolica is assessed as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to Greece. It is found on the Peloponnese, Atica (near Athens) and at one site in Kythira Island (Tan and Iatrou 2001). It is found at less than ten localities and the estimated area of occupancy is less than 500 km2 and the extent of occurrence is under 20,000 km2.

Countries occurrence:
Greece (Greece (mainland))
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:20-500
Number of Locations:5-10
Upper elevation limit (metres):300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Ophrys argolica is quite local and often rare. The population trend is unknown but the scattered localities host only very small populations (Phitos et al. 1995, Pederson and Faurholdt 2007, Delforge 1995).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Ophrys argolica grows in grassland, garrigue and old, pesticide-free olive groves, roadside slopes, coniferous woodlands, meadows, open oak and pine woods. It is mainly found on limestone and grows in calcareous, dry to moist soils, rarely wet in full sunlight to light shade (Tan and Iatrou 2001).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Many Ophrys spp. are collected for their attractiveness.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Ophrys argolica has most of its distribution area in southern Greece. However, the species in the region is subject to threats such as urbanisation, construction work, residential building, and tourism activities. The use of herbicides and pesticides affects the species indirectly as this leads to a reduction of pollinators (Phitos et al. 1995, Pederson and Faurholdt 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchid species are included under Annex B of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The species is listed on Annex IV of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). It is protected (67/81) at national level and listed as Vulnerable in the Greek Red List (Phitos et al. 1995).

 The habitats on the region and the species attractiveness are subject to threats. Therefore, we can protect the species by:

  • Protection of the living individuals through legislation and legal protection which ban the species not to be picked or dug up.
  • Protection of the localities through legal nature conservancy.
  • Introducing informal and inexpensive management contracts with the owners of species localities.
  • Type of habitat management that imitates the traditional agriculture or forestry of the locality of the species.
  • Monitoring the existing populations and sites.
  • Estimate the population size and study their dynamics (Pederson and Faurholdt 2007).
The species tolerates extensive grazing, this could be used to prevent successional vegetation development in certain habitats and to prevent the vegetation to become dominated by more robust and competitive species (Phitos et al. 1995, Pederson and Faurholdt 2007).

Citation: Rankou, H. 2011. Ophrys argolica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T162112A5541120. . Downloaded on 20 October 2017.
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