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

O. archipelagi  was first described from Korcula Island,  Croatia by Reinhard and Golz in 1986 and its name refers to the orchids original discovery in the Dalmatian archipelago. The species is also known by many synonyms, most of which only accord it sub specific status, most commonly being subordinate to either  O. arachnitiformis or O. passionis, all of these species residing within the O. exaltata group of Ophrys.

This is a rare orchid with a disjunct range on either side of the Adriatic from Korcula Island in Croatia to the southeast of Italy centred on the Gargano peninsula.  As can be seen from the accompanying photo's,  it is a variable species which but for differences in distribution, could easily be mistaken for O. arachnitiformis. In its typical form however, it is usually distinguishable by the complex and almost random nature of the speculum which although loosely based on the ubiquitous H pattern is often both unbalanced and heavily distorted by ocelli and bites. It is an early flowerer that in exceptional years may be found in bloom by the first week of March.

It can be a tall plant, robust and usually with a loose inflorescence of up to ten medium sized flowers. As with most members of the O. exaltata group of Ophrys, the lip of O. archipelagi is completely encircled by a ring of whitish hair. The basal field is invariably a rusty red and the sepals may range in colour from green veined white to lettuce green. There is a broad specular stage with prominent pseudo-eyes that normally tend to be surrounded by mottled green markings.

The pictures come from Gargano and date from the second week of April. The flowers depicted in photo's eight to thirteen are hybrids with O. biscutella.       

The following pictures depict plants resulting from hybridization with O. biscutella.