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Ophrys dictynnae

O. dictynnae was first described by Delforge in 2005 and is a member of the O. tenthredenifera group endemic to the island of Crete. It is one of four new species that resulted from a study and subsequent splitting of the O. villosa complex.

Of the four new species, O. dictynnae is the first to bloom in mid January, having an extended flowering period through to March. Whilst most of the species will have completed their flowering cycle in early March, some plants, particularly at altitude, will still be extant at the time when both O. villosa and O. leochroma come into flower during the middle of that month. The three species can be difficult to separate, except that O. dictynnae should be distinguishable by its fading condition at the time these close relatives appear.

O. dictynnae is not small, being similarly proportioned to O. leochroma, with light coloured sepals that range from white to the palest pink and invariably with concolourous petals. The stigmatic cavity is brown, basal field orange, the labellum yellow with a modest brown central area and a complete band of submarginal hair with a tuft above the appendage. The species is widespread across Crete and overall the taxon seems less variable than the other eastern Mediterranean O. tenthredenifera group.

The single photo dates from the last week of March, at which time it was among the very last survivors.