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

O. grandiflora
is an appropriately named member of the nine strong O. tenthedinifera group which was first formally described by Tenore from Mount Nebrodi, Sicily as far back as 1819.

This species can be found commonly in Sicily and less frequently on the Italian mainland in southern Calabria where in both regions it thrives in full sun to mid shade, on alkaline soils. O. grandiflora does however show a propensity to stray into rather more acid substrates and consequently may often be found as the dominant and often only orchid species growing in these intermediate areas.

Naming this species did not require a great leap of imagination by its discoverer for both its flowers and the plant itself can be impressively proportioned.  In Sicily identification is straightforward as it is the sole O. tenthredenifera group representative. On the mainland however there is an overlapping contact zone with O. neglecta  although this latter species is easily distinguished by its smaller size, green bracts and a less vividly yellow lip.

This species is not particularly variable but its readiness to hybridize can often create problems with identification. The final two photographs on this page illustrates the result of a pollination event involving the Sicilian endemic O. biancae.

The photographs are all from Sicily where O. grandiflora can be found in most suitable habitats around the island. It enjoys a long flowering season, appearing as early as February and through into May. The flowers depicted here date from the first two weeks of April.