Ssp caucasica: Kaf salebi; Ssp longicornu: Boynuzlu salep; Ssp morio: Gelincik salebi;
Ssp picta: Boyalı salebi; Ssp syriaca: Arap salebi
Plant 8-30 cm. Leaves up to 10, oblong-ligulate, rosulate, spreading. Spike dense or ± elongate and lax. Flowers red-purple, rarely rose or greenish-white. Sepals forming a subglobose obtuse helmet, with conspicuous dark purple or greenish veins. Labellum mostly broader than long, transversely ovate to rectangular, ± 3-lobed; middle lobe usually shorter, truncate to emarginate, irregularly dentate; lateral lobes rounded, sometimes small, ± reflexed, margins entire or denticulate. Spur cylindrical, ascending, inflated and often ± notched at tip. Fl. 3-5.
1. Plant rather robust; spike ovoid, dense; labellum large, c. 5-7 x 10-13 mm; lateral lobes broadly rounded, middle lobe reduced, hardly equalling lateral lobes; labellum dark red to purple, lateral lobes often darker, paler with several dots at centre; spur shorter than ovary subsp. morio -N., W., C. & S.E. Europe, Caucasus.
1. Plant rather slender, sometimes dwarf; spike elongated and lax or short and few-flowered; labellum smaller, c. 5-8 x 5-10 mm; spur equalling or exceeding ovary
2. Spike rather elongate; labellum as broad as long or slightly longer than broad, ovate to rectangular, purple to rose, often indistinctly spotted; middle lobe clearly developed, lateral lobes ovate or reduced subsp. picta -Mediterranean area, Caucasia, N. Iraq, N., N.W. & W. Iran. Medit. element.
2. Spike rather short; labellum indistinctly 3-lobed, rose to whitish, unspotted subsp. syriaca =O.syriaca-Cyprus, W. Syria. E. Medit. element.
Distribution of species: Europe, Mediterranean area, Caucasia, N. Iran.