John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe

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Ophrys apifera v cambrensis


This variety of O. apifera was first described in 2014 by Michael Clark, having been discovered growing in a relatively large colony on a scree slope in South Wales, UK.

As far as is known, this plant is endemic to the UK and found in only three sites throughout the whole of Britain. Its stronghold is in Wales where it was originally found growing in a colony of around 100 plants, though recent reports suggest that its numbers are declining significantly here. Two other sites were subsequently identified, one in Surrey and another in Dorset but in both cases the plants were in much smaller numbers and in Surrey it has not  reappeared for at least two years.

As can be seen in the left hand picture O. apifera v cambrensis is a most distinctive variety and in its Welsh colony all the plants  displayed these unusual markings. In Surrey however, it grows alongside O. apifera and as evidenced by the right hand picture, intermediates are present. In the Dorset site it also grows alongside type O. apifera but intermediates are not reported.

It seems likely that this is an overlooked variety and may well be
more widespread than currently thought. The pictures are from west Surrey and date from the second week of June.