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

O. amphidami is an eastern Mediterranean representative of the O. tenthredinifera group originally regarded as endemic to the island of Kythera that lies some 10 kms off the southern Peloponnese. It was discovered and first described by Delforge in 2013.

The O. tenthredinifera group has been expanding over the last few years and currently stands at 16 taxons of which this species and O. lycomedis, also described by Delforge in 2013 from the Greek island of Skyros, are the latest members. The key differentiating characteristic of both, is the presence of a very prominent tuft of pale yellow sometimes brownish hair above the appendage. This is a feature common in some members from more westerly parts of the groups range but is virtually absent in those from the east such as O. leochroma and O. villosa.

As with other members of the group, the species exhibits a range of variation but typically the flowers are small,  number from three to twelve and are held alternately up a slender stem. The lip is often, but by no means always somewhat convex, giving the flower a narrow appearance when viewed from the front. Unlike the usually browner lip and vividly coloured sepals of O. leochroma, the overall appearance of O. amphidami is much paler, with sepals that are rarely more than a pale lilac and a labellum that although brown at its centre has a much broader yellow margin. This margin has a complete ring of often course, pale yellow, sometimes almost white hairs.

O. amphidami comes into flower at a similar time to both O. villosa and O. leochroma from mid March to April but its smaller size is diagnostic. Reference was made previously to the fact that its range was restricted to the island of Kythira but recent evidence points to its presence elsewhere in the area and indeed the accompanying pictures are all from the far south west coast of the Peloponnese.