John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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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, resident in the western Mediterranean, primarily the Iberian peninsula, which have become isolated from their largely Aegean based cousins. The other members are O. vasconica and O. algarvensis both of which have evolved into hybridogenous species as a result of the introgression of O. dyris by O. fusca s.l.

O. dyris is a rare species which can be found in Morocco, the Balearics (arguably) 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 more typical in 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 recorded and particularly in the Balearic islands where O. dryis itself seems to have been virtually subsumed by hybridisation with O. arnoldii (see O. funditorum). In the Balearics and mainland Spain the resultant offspring always 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 such a groove.