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

This is the title species of the O. umbilicata group consisting of seven largely similar Ophrys,  all of which come from the Aegean basin and eastern Mediterranean. It was popularly known until the late 20th century as the Mount Carmel Ophrys (O. carmeli) at which time the title would have encompassed other group members that have now been split off as individual species (these would include O. flavomarginata, O. bucephala, O. attica and O. astarte)

Unsurprisingly its name refers to the umbilicus which is the central, navel like ocellus formed within the speculum. This feature, although a fairly consistent characteristic of the species, can vary in form from being absent, often incomplete and sometimes with the ocellus duplicated and rarely triplicated.

Unlike most of the rest of its group, O. umbilicata is a quite common Ophrys and may be abundant in    some of its stations, particularly in the Aegean islands where its range can overlap with two other similar species, O. bucephala and O. attica. (O. flavomarginata and O. astarte in Cyprus) Although some examples of possible hybridisation have been recorded, it seems to be rare and even where more than one species grow in close proximity, the individual features of each remain largely pure and identifiable.

Perhaps the most immediate and obvious characteristic of this species is the usually white, sometimes pinkish sepals, whereas
the four previously mentioned species invariably exhibit green sepals. The photos are from Lesbos and Chios, during the first two weeks in April and Cyprus dating from the first two weeks of March.