|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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This Ophrys was first described in 2004 and named after its pollinator (Andrena sabulosa). It is one of
several Sicillian Pseudophrys that were being studied and recognized in the late 20th century and as mentioned elsewhere is part of a group of species that has caused considerable botanical conflict, particularly between Paulus and Gack and Delforge.
There is still some difference of view regarding the nature of the relationship between this plant and O.
gackiae and O. lupercalis. Some local opinion believe them all to be seasonally influenced morphs.
In Sicily O. lupercalis can appear very much like the endemic O. sabulosa but although the two species
can be found in similar habitats, the former orchid would be in poor condition by the time the latter is
starting to appear. It is however entirely possible to find O. lupercalis growing concurrently with O.
sabulosa at higher altitudes.
O. sabulosa is the largest of these similar Pseudophrys both in flower size and in the robustness of the overall plant. The longtitudinal prominences are relatively massive and not only give the lip a pronounced kink but also emphasize the depth and width of the stigmatic cavity. The central groove is also prominent
and the overall impession of the flower is one of strong features and massive proportions.
The photographs are all from southern Sicily where it grows quite commonly on calcareous substrates
in full sun. The species is a late flowerer and the pictures here all date from the second two weeks of