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

O. hansreinhardii was first described from southern Albania by Hirth in 2007 and is a member of the large and ever growing O. mammosa group of Ophrys. Since its original discovery it has subsequently been found at several sites in north western Greece, though it remains a somewhat rare orchid.

The species is a mountain dweller showing a distinct preference for damp situations and at one particular location within the Vikos Gorge, it grows in the drying but still muddy overflow channels of the receding river. O. hansreinhardii is an unspectacular orchid and as can be seen from photograph six, is a slender and few flowered plant that is easily overlooked, particularly as it usually grows in small numbers with few other accompanying species. Its preference for moist habitat is emphasized by the fact that it is often be found growing alongside the early nonflowering rosettes of Dactylorhizas.

The flower itself is normally a dull red but can shade through to a deep mauve that may appear almost black. The speculum is usually a straightforward H (which is often broken) but can occasionally show some variation and appear more elaborate as in pictures three and four.

As already mentioned, this is a member of the O. mammosa group and in common with the majority of this order, the lateral sepals are horizontally bicoloured with the lower section lightly or often heavily tinted red. The sepals, indeed the whole perianth is invariably swept strongly backwards and this characteristic is a key feature in terms of identification.

The pictures are all from the Epirus region of northern Greece and date from early May at which time the flowers were declining.