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

This Ophrys was first described in 1997 from the Aegean island of Chios but since that time has been found on the neighbouring islands of Lesbos and Kos, as well as in a single province of Anatolia. O. homeri is a member of the O. heldreichii group

Its name commemorates Chios's most famous former inhabitant, the ancient poet Homer. In truth Homer probably never existed and was the invention of Herodotus some 400 years later in his effort to give  credibility to those epic works, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer was deemed to be from Chios simply because he refers to "the men of Chios" in the Iliad.

This is a highly variable species and easily confused with its close relative O. calypsus, an orchid which shares a similar range and many of its characteristics. Perhaps the most typical feature of O. homeri, is the weediness of the plant, which although not short, is spindly, with widely spaced individual flowers. (See third photograph). Another important feature is the complete band of submarginal hair around the labellum of the flower, this being thick and usually a very pale colour, contrasting with the dark brown lip itself. Speculum markings vary but can be both elaborate and extensive, often covering the entire lip and extending along basal swellings.

The photographs all come from a site just outside the town of Pyrgi in Chios and date from the 12th of  April.