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

This is an orchid endemic to France and which has its headquarters in the Drome region of the southern Vercors, indeed its name means "from Drome". It does however have a small number of other stations in adjoining Provinces such as the Ardeche, Bouches-du-Rhone and possibly Isere.

It's a very local orchid but can be frequent in its favoured areas, these areas always being dry locations in full sun on rocky hillsides, garrigue, abandoned olive groves and light woodland. Its preferred habitat is always at an elevated altitude, usually in the Alpine foothills between 250 and 1000 metres rather than in the high mountains.  

O. drumana is easily recognized as a member of the O. bertolonii  group and at up to 35cms is certainly one  of the sturdier. Its appearance, although somewhat variable, is similar to other of its cousins though there is only a very small overlap of range with one other group member, O. saratoi. This somewhat isolated distribution is therefore a key distinguishing factor when trying to identify it. An increasing number of experts are beginning to question the taxonomic status of the O. bertolonii group representatives in south west France and it's possible if not probable that some rationalization may take place in future years.

As already mentioned, O. drumana  can be a variable orchid with notable differences in both lip shape and speculum colouration. Plant size is however consistent, being tall with up to a dozen individual flowers, usually growing in small, loose colonies. The illustrations date from late May and are all from the southern Vercors, predominantly in the area between the small towns of Combovin and Beaufort-sur-Gervanne.