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Ophrys lucentina

O. lucentina was first described from Alicante, Spain by Delforge in 1999. His paper did however raise
some professional misgivings with regard to the material on which he had based his findings. Subsequently in 2001, Messrs Lowe, Piera and Crespo compiled and presented a further paper to the Journal of European Orchids, using what they considered more genetically authentic material and referring to the orchid as O. dianica (from the Dianic mountains of Alicante)

This is a species where differences of view among experts, make the provision of a true description difficult for the authors. The most significant problems arise from the fact that O. lucentina can be very hard to separate from the frequent intermediates produced by hybridization amongst a group of other Iberian species such as O. lutea , O. bilunulata, O. forestieri, O. fusca etc. It is for this same reason that providing an accurate picture of the species distribution is potentially misleading.

Whether or not the range of this species extends to Portugal, Northern Spain or even France is a matter for debate but there is however, general agreement that O. lucentina has its base in the Alicante region of southern Spain, where it is both very localized and uncommon. It is a striking orchid and not least because of the the unusually vivid and broad yellow marginal band, though unfortunately it is a feature that doesn't help to separate it from O. bilunulata, which can share this characteristic. Although the flowers are quite conspicuous, they are few in number and the plant itself is slender, spindly and easily overlooked.

The pictures come from Xato in the Province of Alicante, dating from the first week of April.