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Ophrys cephalonica

O. cephalonica was first described from Cephalonia (Greece) by Baumann and Baumann in 1984 and was at first referred to as O. sphegodes subsp cephalonica. It was subsequently reclassified as a member of the O. exaltata group of Ophrys, more commonly distributed in countries to the north and west of Greece.

O. cephalonica shows several characteristics that suggest hybridogenous development involving O. mammosa sl. and whilst typical O. cephalonica is reasonably easy to distinguish, the O. mammosa influence sometimes predominates and produces plants of uncertain identity. Its distribution is restricted to the Ionian islands and the adjacent mainland coast of Epirus, both areas of O. mammosa species domination, which therefore increases the occurrence of hybridization and consequent identification problems. The most consistent distinguishing features of O. cephalonia are the complete band of hair around the lip and the constricted base of the stigmatic cavity. The species is normally dullish brown or dirty orange, with a basal field similarly coloured to that of the centre of the lip. It often resembles O. grammica in colouration and form but in pure specimens will usually lack the more developed basal swellings.

The Ophrys of northern Greece can be a difficult group to separate with the highly variable O. cephalonica being no exception and one which needs more clarity. Studies of Corfu Ophrys by Monica Hirth concluded not only that O. cephalonica hybridization was the source of misidentifications but that there were multiple new as yet described taxons. The pictures are from mainland Epirus and Cephalonia.

The following pictures have been split between mainland and Ionian Island populations. The first group depict examples from Cephalonia :-

Some less typical examples from Cephalonia :-

The following pictures depict plants from the Epirus coast of mainland Greece (Thesprotia) :-