John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys calypsus v scolopaxoides

Until 1994, O. calypsus was considered simply a variety of O. heldreichii but since that time has been given full species status and maintains three named varieties, maxima, scolopaxoides and pseudoapulica. This position has recently changed again with maxima (which was always something of a "catch all" description) being redistributed into other classifications, principally O. colossaea.

O. calypsus is a relatively common Ophrys  and it will be no surprise to learn that it was named after  the Greek sea nymph Calypso, daughter of Titan and an important character in Homer's Odyssey. Scolopaxoides is one of the two recognized varieties of O. calypsus and seems to occupy a range within the centre of that of the type species. The heart of its distribution is therefore the Cyclades and eastern Aegean islands from Chios down to Rhodes and possibly into Anatolia.

O. calypsus v scolopaxoides differs from type in being a less robust plant with smaller flowers and at first sight could easily be mistaken for a member of the O. oestrifera  group. Its most significant  characteristic is the way in which the lip margins strongly recurve and form a pleat at the rear of the  flower. O. calypsus itself can sometimes give this appearance but as already mentioned is a more robust  plant with flowers which when viewed from the front, still present a more rectangular appearance that does not taper to the appendage as acutely. It should be mentioned however that all three varieties of the species may be found in association and intermediate populations are common.
The photographs come from Rhodes and Chios and date from the first week of April.