Orchis italica - Naked Man Orchid, Italian Orchid

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

A group of Orchis italica, Portugal

Widespread and common throughout the region this one of the best known Mediterranean orchids.

Orchis italica - Naked Man Orchid


The Naked Man Orchid grows up to 50cm in height and has a rosette of distinctive wavy-margined leaves at the base of the plant. The leaves are sometimes flecked with brown. There are a further 3 or 4 small leaves sheathing the stem. The flowers are carried in a dense inflorescence and are usually pale to dark pink.

Closeup of flowers of Orchis italica - Naked Man Orchid

From time to time pure white specimens occur but they are rare.


Common throughout the Mediterranean region this orchid grows in localised but often dense colonies. It can be found in the Middle East, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, the Aegean islands, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Orchis italica, Naked Man Orchid, Crete


This orchid grows in abandoned farmland, scrubby areas and beside tracks and paths and is particularly numerous close to the coasts.

Orchis italica, Naked Man Orchid, Algarve, Portugal

Flowering times

April and May.


The genus name Orchis means 'testacles', a reference to the twin tubers of orchids in this genus. The specific epithet italica means 'Italian' and refers to the fact that this orchid species was first formally described from 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)

Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock (2014) Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve; Kew Publishing

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

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

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