John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys tenthredinifera x balearica

O. tenthredenifera was first described by Wildenow from Algeria in 1805 whereas O. balearica was not described from Mallorca until 1990 by Delforge.

Given that O. baearica is endemic to the Balearics this is a hybrid that can only be found on the islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, where it occurs rather commonly. Despite the fact that it is a relatively frequently encountered cross, it has not been formally described or named.

It is an early flowerer, being in full bloom as early as mid March and declining by mid April. Preferred habitat is always calcareous but unlike both its parents which tolerate a degree of shade, it seems to prefer a position in full sun. These hybrids can be variable but are typically very hirsute and colouration is invariably a reddish dark brown that may or may not shade into a yellow marginal band. The speculum will sometimes comprise a bib and contrasting basal field but it is far more usual to see a simple stand alone shield as in O. balearica itself.

Both of its progenitors carry a wholly or predominantly black stigmatic cavity and so it is unsurprising therefore that such is the case with the cross. Where a plant is discovered with a greenish or brownish stigmatic cavity it is probable that the parents are O. balearica and the second O. tenthredinifera group representative in the Balearics, O. spectablis.  This particular cross could however be found only on Mallorca as O. spectablis does not occur on the smaller islands of the archipelago.

The pictures come from Mallorca , dating from the first week of April.