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

O. virescens was first described from Var (France) in 1859 and its name literally means "turning green".  In the past this species was referred to as O. araneola subsp virescens and there is little doubt that in locations where the ranges of O. virescens and O. araneola  overlap, there can be great difficulties in distinguishing the two species.

O. virescens does however tend to be a less northerly plant and favours the more Mediterranean areas, most particularly in southern France and northern Spain though the true distributions of both Ophrys are poorly known due to confusions between them. The extent of their respective ranges is not fully understood and is the subject of considerable disagreement between the various authorities. It 1s however well established that there is an isolated and disjunct outpost of the species on the Gargano peninsula. The first four pictures are from this central Italian population and as can be seen, do not entirely conform to the species description of the French or Spanish populations ?
O. virescens is a variable orchid but there are a few features which serve to distinguish it from O. araneola and these are follows:- 1. O. virescens  gets it name from the greener, leafier nature of the stem and rosette. 2.  It is a more robust plant and the flowers themselves appear larger. 3. The flowers often appear darker - sometimes black. This  gives the overall plant a very distinctive appearance.  

The pictures are from Gargano ( 1-4 ) and various sites in southern France ( 5-13 ). They date from the first week of May and the last week of May respectively.   

                        O. virescens x aveyronensis

                             O. virescens x aymoninii

                              O. virescens x splendida