John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Ophrys species Links

Ophrys dyris

O. dyris was first described by Maire from the Atlas mountains of Morocco in 1931 and its name refers to   "Dyris" the name given by Pliny to the mountains of the Moroccan Atlas.

This is an uncommon member of the O. omegaifera group and belongs to a set of three species which reside in the western Mediterranean,  primarily in the  Iberian peninsula where they have become isolated from their  largely Aegean based cousins. The other two members are  O. vasconica  and  O. algarvensis  and its the introgression of O. dyris by O. fusca s.l. that would seem to be the basis of the formation of these latter two hybridogenous species.

O. dyris is a rare species which can be found in the Moroccan Atlas mountains, the Balearics and the southern half of the Iberian peninsula, including Portugal.  It prefers alkaline soils but will tolerate a wide range of conditions from open garrigue to the semi shade of pine woodland. Flowering can be as early as late January in the warmest parts of its distribution but March would be the more usual time in more northerly areas.   

O. dyris is a distinctive species and relatively easy to identify in the field due to the virtual lack of a groove in the throat at the base of the lip. Occasional hybridization between this species and members of the O. fusca  group is regularly (though not particularly commonly) recorded but where this occurs the resultant offspring always seem to possess a central groove in the lip (see O. dyris x fusca).  Its strange therefore that O. algarvensis which is thought to be the result of the same but a more ancient union of these two taxons,  does not have a groove in the throat.