|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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The exact status of this Ophrys is the subject of some debate, as within Greece it seems to be regarded as a full species , whereas others outside of that country and indeed many reference books accord it only varietal status. Delforge treats it as the latter whilst acknowledging the possibility of its potential for an uplifted position.
O. bicornis is a member of the large and often difficult to differentiate O. oestrifera group and as already mentioned may or may not be O. oestrifera itself. This species has a range which takes it from the northern Balkans down to Attica and to the more northerly Aegean islands, whereas O. oestrifera is to be found in a more northern and easterly direction from southern Hungary (where it may overlap with O. bicornis ) across to Iran and Romania.
This is a variable species and certainly on Mt Hymettus there has been a good deal of gene ingression from closely related species. The sepals are normally a stubby, triangular shape as with photos 1 to 2. Whereas
photos 3 and 4 are more elongated and less typical. The stigmatic cavity is usually some 60% of the width of the body when viewed face on and is generally constricted at the base with a pronounced ledge running horizontally across the middle between the two noticeable black pseudo-eyes. Unfortunately due to the photographic angles, only picture 7 provides any illustration of these points. Another feature which can be viewed as a factor with identification is the tendency for the speculum pattern to be uncomplicated, unbalanced and sometimes even rudimentary.
Photographs 1 to 5 are from the hills of Parnitha, north of Athens. The remaining 2 were taken on a very wet day in Lesbos.