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

druentica was first described from the lower River Durance region of southern France by Delforge and Viglione in 2006, its eventual recognition being the result of a major study of the three main fuciflorid groups of the area (O. scolopax, O. tetraloniae and O. fuciflora).

This new species has been placed in the O. tetraloniae group and as can be seen from the photographs, it exhibits one of the key distinguishing features of this family, this being the virtually complete sub-marginal band of short, light coloured hair that is not noticeably denser on the shoulders as is common with some of the other fuciflorids. The addition of this new species to a group which is already well represented in the south of France doesn't make life easier in terms of distinguishing the individual species and in his study, Delforge referred to the presence of significant numbers of hybrid strains where these species were in close contact. The pictures accompanying this description also exhibit signs of genetic interference particularly in terms of petal length and submarginal hair.

O. druentica is variable and lip shape can imitate both O. linearis and O. aegirtica. The key differentiating points are the larger size of the lip, the dark stigmatic cavity and a petal length that on a mean basis is shorter than O. linearis but longer than O. aegirtica. The species was first found in the Durance valley but its full range although not known with any certainty, is thought to be considerably wider.

The pictures here come from southern Drome and date from the third week of May. Photos 8 and 9 depict a flower that is clearly not pure O. druentica but presumably a hybrid growing within the loose colony ?