for the throat
Greece is highly diverse in orchids, with Epirus (northwest Greece) being among the most species-rich areas, hosting ca. 70 taxa. The most commonly harvested species for salep in Greece are Anacamptis morio, Dactylorhiza sambucina, D. saccifera and Orchis mascula. Other orchids, mainly from the genera Anacamptis and Orchis are also mentioned from older references. A large fraction of the salep collected in Greece and neighbouring countries, finds its way to the international market mainly through the Netherlands, Northern Cyprus, and especially Germany, which is by far the largest trader in medicinal and aromatic plants. However, there has been a revived demand for authentic salep, along with other forest food plants and “Non-Timber Forest Products” (NTFP) in general, as part of modern people’s desire to be reconnected with Nature, with traditional culture and with their own locality. Ironically, this yearning for reconnection with Nature may actually drive local extirpation for many vulnerable species, including orchids because of its potential magnitude. The unregulated and undocumented orchid harvest and trade relating to salep is expected to be very large and to put pressure on populations in the wild. To that end, research into trade dynamics and the impacts of harvest are very important. Existing studies outline the threat to orchid populations, but there has been very little examination of populations themselves.