Serapia is a genus endemic to South Europe, commonly found around the Mediterranean Sea.

The number of species varies from author to author, but today we know it is higher than 20 and there are a few new unidentified species. The common name is “Tongue Orchid” because the sepals and side lobes of the lip form a “tube” that resembles “tongue”.

Serapias are terrestrial orchids that are dormant tuberoids during summer. New shoots will emerge in mid autumn and the plants will continue to grow during the winter. Flowering occurs any time from late winter to late spring. I live in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, and my plants are always in flower the 1st of September.

The leaves are up to 20cm long and relatively narrow, up to 1.5cm.

The flower spikes rise from the center, and grow up to 20cm tall. The blooms, normally 3-5 but can be as many as 20, are at the end of the flower spike and are relative large. Allegedly, many flowers are scented (I never noticed it), and there are claims that different species produce a different sent.

During dormancy, the plants (tuberoids) must be kept dry, but not totally dry to prevent the dehydration of the tuberoids.

Regular watering and fertilizing during the growing period is essential.

The plants are frost hardy, and some suggest that cool nights and the occasional rain wakes up the into the new growing season.