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Bosnian Orchids

The Balkans – aside from Greece and Croatia – are one of the least explored regions of Europe, with few venturing into the natural wildernesses away from the coastal towns. The sparsely populated country of Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts three distinct climatic zones: a classic Mediterranean climate in the south (Herzegovina), a continental climate in the central and northern regions, while a true alpine climate predominates on its high mountain peaks. The presence of all these distinct climatic zones-which fuse and mix in some areas- results in great biodiversity, with orchids being abundant in many areas.


The Mediterranean climate zone is compromised of most of Herzegovina (many people shorten the name to just “Bosnia”, but Herzegovina comprises the southern portion). Here the winters are cool and rainy, with only occasional frost and rare snowfall, while summers are hot and dry; temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) are common! Spring flowering, summer dormant orchids such as many Ophrys (Bee Orchids) species and Serapias (Tongue Orchids) thrive in Herzegovina, with Ophrys forming endless carpets of thousands of plants in some localities, often growing in poor soil between rocks. Other typical species include Anacamptis coriophora, Anacamptis morio, Orchis pauciflora (a beautiful rare Mediterranean endemic that is abundant in some areas) , O. quadripunctata, O. tridentata and O. provincialis. These orchids usually grow together with herbs such as thyme and sage, the latter of which paints entire hillsides blue with its flowers in May.

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