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Ophrys pelinaea

It was not realized until recently that despite its abundance, this Ophrys was in fact a new taxon and not a late flowering O. sitiaca or form of O. leucadica as previously assumed.

Delforge first described it in 2007 from the Aegean island of Chios where it was found on Mount Pelineo and hence its  scientific name. Since this time it has been found to be widespread and common on other neighbouring islands such as Samos and Lesbos. The illustrations are from Lesbos  and go some way to demonstrate 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 perhaps unsurprising therefore that O. pelinaea shares that species innate variability. 

Lesbos in particular has been the centre of much study with the fusca sl complex and a visit to this island can be a bewildering experience to the amateur hoping to identify orchids in this group. Perhaps the most easily recognized feature of O. pelinaea is the broad white omega shaped line at the tip of the speculum, reminiscent of O. sitiaca but with a pronounced V shaped groove at the basal area of the lip.

O. pelinaea has been placed in the O. attaviria group and as with other members, has relatively large flowers of up to 20cms. Although tolerant of light shade it appears happiest on dry soils in full sun. All photographs were taken in the first week of April 2008.