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

O. panormitana
is a Sicilian endemic whose name refers to its discovery in the  province of Palermo in 1842  (ancient Palermo was  called Panhormus). The species is not however restricted to this region and is known to be widespread around the island, being reasonably plentiful in its preferred sites.

It belongs to the 12 strong O. exaltata group and as will be noted from the illustrations, is a highly variable species. The Ophrys with which it can most easily be confused is O. exaltata itself,  particularly as it shares similar habitat preferences and will frequently grow side by side with its close cousin. As well as the more usual Mediterranean habitats, both species show a partiality for disturbed sites such as settled rock falls, quarries and road verges.

O. panormitana also exhibits a similar range of sepal colouration which can vary from white to light green and usually with noticeable dark green veins. In O. exaltata however the sepals are longer with a more elegant appearance. O. panormitana is generally more hirsute with a practically complete marginal ring of hair. The lip can be entire, round, ovoid or strongly three lobed but probably the most significant identifying characteristic is the stigmatic cavity which in O. panormitana has a lime green or greyish specular stage that  generally occupies most of the cavity interior, also surrounding the pseudo-eyes. 

Hybrids with O. exaltata are not uncommon and several of the photos here show plants that could well have suffered such genetic interference. The pictures were all taken in south east Sicily and date from the first two weeks of April.