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

O. creberrima was first described by Paulus from Lassithi, Crete in 1998 and is a member of the O. funerea group of Ophrys. its name refers to its pollinator, Andrena creberrima.

Its range is not fully understood with some believing it to be restricted to eastern Crete and nearby Kythera, whilst others consider it has a wider distribution both in Crete and through the Aegean generally. One of the reasons for this confusion is its close relationship to O. leucadica, a widespread eastern Mediterranean species but one which does not occur in Crete. It should be mentioned that the two species, although sharing a pollinator, do not share a particularly close morphological resemblance.

O. creberrima is one of Crete's more recognizable Pseudophrys with a strong transverse and longitudinal convexity which combine with large longitudinal prominences to produce an unmistakable appearance. This appearance is strongly reminiscent of O. cinereophila albeit this latter species is a significantly smaller orchid in all its parts. O. creberrima can vary considerably but typically the lip is dark brown with a narrow yellow or orange border and the speculum, although usually lacking a pattern, can exhibit a rich red colouration that extends down from the prominences. The speculum is normally tipped by a pale blue omega. O. creberrima flowers from mid March through to early May and produces up to six individual flowers that appear alternately up a robust stem.

The pictures are from Crete and date from the first two weeks of April.