John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys archimedea

Unsurprisingly, this Ophrys was named after the famous Sicilian scholar and mathematician Archimedes,  having first been described from Sicily in 2000. O. archimedea is endemic to that island and considered  both local and uncommon.

In its typical form it is a relatively easy plant to identify although as with the other members of the O. subfusca group, natural variation and genetic interference can often make diagnosis a less than straightforward. process. The first four photographs depict flowers that exhibit all the characteristic features and are most representative of the species.

O. archimedea has larger flowers and longer sepals than O. numida and a shorter lip than O. flammeola, it  also has significantly less open sinuses than either of these species. The dark, hairy area of the central lobe tends to spread into the lateral lobes with only a little orange dilution at the perimeter.

As already mentioned, the photos accompanying this page cannot all be regarded as typical O. archimedea and some are included based on the balance of probabilities. Importantly however, they were large flowered, had extensive dark brown/red lobes and the distinctive milky, grey speculum. O. archimedea (like O. numida) is not an easy plant to differentiate when it strays from the type description.

On the island of Sicily there are no less than seven of the "yellow" fuscas and this fact has contributed to the creation of significant hybrid and intermediate populations which complicate identification. The pictures date from the third week of Aprl.