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

In 2015, Paulus and Hirth produced research that established this orchid to be a widespread species throughout the eastern Aegean and that it encompassed a range of other Ophrys, then variously considered to be late flowering forms of O. sitiaca or O. leucadica and separate taxons including O. parosica and O. phaseliana. It was proven by exhaustive testing that they all shared the same pollinator, Andrena gravida and therefore, despite significant morphological differences were a single species.

Delforge first described O. pelinaea in 2007 from the Aegean island of Chios where it was found on Mount Pelineo but since then it has been discovered to be widespread and common on other neighbouring islands. The illustrations are from Lesbos and Chios, demonstrating very well the significant variation in appearance of this species. It is thought to be of hybrid origin, with O. sitiaca as one of its forebears, its unsurprising therefore that O. pelinaea is so innately variable. When considering these huge disimilarities, reference should be made to the pages for O. parosica and O. phaseliana which in the eastern Aegean, now fall within the improbably wide variation range of O. pelinaea.  

Perhaps the most consistent identifying feature of O. pelinaea is the broad silvery omega at the tip of the speculum, very reminiscent of O. sitiaca but with a pronounced V shaped groove in the basal area of the lip. As with other members of the O. attaviria grouping it is both large flowered and a particularly robust plant. The photographs date from the middle of April.