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

This species was first described by Fleischmann from Chania, Crete in 1925 and was then named O. sphaciotica by virtue of its discovery in the Sphakia region. Subsequent research by Kretzschmar and Kretzschmar has however determined that the species Fleischmann described was unlikely to be O. grigoriana and probably just a robust O. spruneri. The name O. grigoriana was therefore prioritized, this referring to the village of Grigoria which is at the heart of the orchids range.

This species is endemic to Crete and although it can turn up throughout the island, it is largely confined to the mountainous regions between Zaros and Akoumia, in the south of central Crete. The flower of O. grigorina is probably the largest of any Ophrys species but whilst this feature is diagnostic in pure examples of the species, such populations are becoming scarce. Apart from its distinctive size, O. grigoriana is separable from O. spruneri in only small characteristics such as its proportionately larger stigmatic cavity and darker lip colouration. O. grigoriana seldom occurs in pure populations and will most frequently be found growing in close association with O. spruneri, a curious phenomenon that is not fully explained by identical habitat preference. Inevitably intermediates are common, if however you regard O. grigoriana as pure only when lip length exceeds 30mm, it is a rare orchid indeed. If defined by a lip length exceeding 15mm it is relatively frequent.

It is a highly variable orchid that can exhibit differing perianth and lip margin colouration and a labellum  which can be entire or perhaps more frequently three lobed.The flower does appear, both in the field and photographs to be broader and thicker set than O. spruneri. Picture seven depicts a highly unusual hybrid with O. cretica. The photos date from the second week of April.