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

This species was first described by Danesch and Danesch from Foggia, Italy in 1971 and its name relates to its similarity to close cousin O. bertolonii.

O. bertoloniiformis is a member of the 10 strong O. bertolonii group and shares this groups familiar and  distinctive appearance. It's endemic not just to southern Italy, but specifically to the Gargano peninsula  where it can be found growing side by side with O. bertolonii, and where it is actually the more numerous  of the two species. There have been various reports of O. bertoloniiformis occurring in areas of southern  Italy outside Gargano, these have however been largely ascribed to the product of hybridization between  the much more widespread O. bertolonii and other green sepalled Ophrys species. Some authorities regard this species and indeed the hybrids as synonymous with O. flavicans, a species from the other side of the Adriatic along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

If you refer to the O. bertolonii page within this site you will find a photograph of a plant found in Sicily that exhibits a strong resemblance to its Gargano relatives, including the shallow notch accommodating the  appendage. In O. bertolonii the notch is generally much deeper, this feature serving as one of the important differentiators between the two species.

O. bertoloniiformis is a naturally variable plant, but can appear more so due to the "Gargano effect" which seems to predispose most Ophrys species with a gene sharing propensity unrivaled in other parts of the Mediterranean. It is suspected that several of the plants illustrated here have been the results of such  exposure. The photographs are all from Gargano and date from the first week of May.