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

O. nestoris was described by Presser and Hertel in 2018, having previously been incorrectly positioned as a subspecies within the primarily western Mediterranean O. scolopax group. It is in fact a member of the O. oestrifera clan and named after the Palace of Nestor which was close to the site of the species original discovery by Alibertis and Brutsch in southern Messenia.

Recent years have seen changes and additions of new species being added to the Greek list of scolapaxoid Ophrys and correctly separating these taxons becomes ever more complicated. O. nestoris is however one of the more distinctive new discoveries when in its typical form, this being dark lipped with green or green washed sepals and very short petals. Needless to say and as can be seen from the pictures however, the species doesn't always conform to the type description, though the tiny petals appear to be a fairly reliable diagnostic characteristic. Sepals can sometimes be pale pink although rarely the vivid shade of some its O. oestrifera group cousins. The basal swellings can also vary in form from small bears ears to well developed outward pointing horns. The flowers are small but the plant is often sturdy and as will be noted from the sixth picture, the basal leaves can be strikingly robust.

This is an extremely rare species where even the small number of known colonies can support less than ten individuals. The photographs come from sites near Megolopoli and the Locus typicus on the outskirts of the village of Gargaliani. In both cases the plant count was in single figures, although it should be noted that on the 13th of April 2023 they were only just getting into their stride.