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

O. halia was first described by Paulus from Rhodes in 2002 and was named after the nymph Halia. This   species is endemic to the Greek island of Rhodes and is a member of the large O. bornmuelleri group that has a significant representation in and around the Aegean.

The fuciflorid species of the Aegean have been much studied over the last few years and O. halia was one of several newly recognized species to be described. This research is ongoing and it seems highly likely that more new species will be identified in the years to come. The Aegean islands are proving fertile ground for  species hunters and the rate of splitting has become a source of scepticism from some botanical authorities. Having said this, O. halia is one of the more convincing new species and is relatively easy to identify, even on Rhodes which holds several similar Ophrys of the same and closely related groups.

This species is somewhat variable in terms of lip shape and specular pattern but there are two features   which can be regarded as characteristic and reasonably consistent. The first of these are the petals which   are characteristically both erect and elongated in a similar way to those of O. linearis (although they are less acuminate and   more triangular in shape). Secondly and importantly the sepals are invariably a base colour of pink with a green wash that although always present may vary from a light shading to a heavy coating that can virtually eliminate the pink colouration altogether.

These photos date from the first two weeks of April and are from southern Rhodes around Kattavia.