John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys arnoldii x fabrella

The Pseudophrys of the Balearics have long been a source of disagreement amongst orchid authorities and there are differing expert opinions as to which taxons are actually present (or were once present) on the islands. As contentiously the parentage and taxonomic status of the numerous hybrid populations. Partial exceptions to this taxonomic uncertainty are O. fabrella and O. bilunulata, both of which remain relatively distinct species and distinguishable from their cousins, though even with these two species, identification can be less straightforward as they do occasionally hybridize and not least with each other. O. fabrella is thought to have originally evolved from O. bilunulata plants that adapted to a new pollinator.

Even a cursory study of the islands Pseudophrys population reveals a mix of morphological characteristics that rarely point unequivocally to a particular species and unless clues can be gained  by genetically clean specimens of the progenitors nearby, the correct identification of a hybrid can be problematic.

One of the areas of disagreement is whether both O. fusca and O. arnoldii co-exist on Mallorca or if in fact only one is present. The authors tend to the latter view and accordingly the hybrid depicted here has been labelled O. arnoldii x O. fabrella, it is however an identification subject to revision in the light of better data and should perhaps be more correctly referred to as O. fusca sl x O. fabrella.

The illustrations are from Mallorca, dating from the first week of April.