|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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| This is a relatively new member of the O. heldreichii
group from the Aegean island of Rhodes. It was formally described after
a great deal of research in 2005, the authors being Messrs Mast,
Garnier, Devillers-Tersch and Devillers.
The aforementioned study concluded that plants formerly recognized as the species O. ceto and O. bremifera of the O. oestrifera group were in fact a seperate species within the O. heldreichii grouping. As has been discussed elsewhere, a great deal of study has been directed at the Greek Ophrys genus over the last few years and results are not always easy to understand. Sometimes species separation seem to have been determined with an emphasis on geographical isolation rather than hard genetic evidence.
O. polyxo is endemic to Rhodes and is reasonably common in most parts of the island where there are few other scolopaxoid Ophrys species with which it can be confused. O. calypsus and more particularly O. calypsus v scolopaxoides are also relatively frequent and in some forms can present difficulty with identification. O. polyxo is however a more slenderly proportioned flower with less rounded and more elongated sepals.
O. rhodia is easily distinguished by its green sepals but hybridization between the two species is common and examples of these are illustrated below.
The photos are all from Rhodes and date from early April.
As was mentioned above, O. polyxo readily hybridizes and the following illustrations depict crosses with O. rhodia (1&2) and O. cornutula (3).