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

Ophrys grammica

O. grammica was first described from Kastoria, Greece by Willing and Willing in 1985 and is a member of the large and growing O. mammosa group of Ophrys. It was originally classified as a subspecies and later promoted to full species status by Devillers and Devillers -Terschuren.  Its name refers to the site of its discovery, Mount Grammos on the borders of Greece and Albania.

The Ophrys of northern Greece can be a difficult group to separate and O. grammica is no exception being hugely variable and capable of imitating several other species within its range of variation. One of the key identifying characteristics is its colour which even in newly opened flowers tends to be a dull olive/brown, particularly the central and basal areas. This dullness increases with age and produces an overall dusty look to the surface of the lip.  The stigmatic cavity and basal field can be concolourous with the centre of the lip but is often a somewhat lighter shade of orange or rusty red. Basal swellings are always present but these can be of varying size from large to barely noticeable. The specular pattern is normally very uncomplicated, comprising a straightforward H, or sometimes simply two vertical lines.

Originally the distribution of this species was thought to be limited to the north west of Greece including Corfu, together with southern Macedonia and possibly southern Albania. It is now known however to be present as far south as the Peloponnese where it is easily confused with the extremely similar O. herae. It's a late flowerer in April and June and shows a significant preference for neutral or mildly acidic soils, particularly on banks or hillsides that have suffered a degree of erosion.

The illustrations are from northern Greece and date from the beginning of May.