John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys insectifera x subinsectifera

O. insectifera was first described from Sweden in 1753 and has long been known by its common name, Fly Orchid.

It is a very familiar and widespread Ophrys that holds some notoriety in European terms by being the most northerly occurring of its genus. It achieves this due to its presence in central Scandinavia but can otherwise be found through much of temperate mid Europe where although local, it can often be quite common. O. insectifera itself is a predominantly brown/red flower although a rare yellow margined form known as luteomarginata occurs throughout the range of the type species. The distribution of O. insectifera overlaps with that of the two yellow Fly Orchid species O. aymoninii and O. subinsectifera and hybridization is not uncommon.

The pictures depict the offspring of genetic exchange between O. insectifera and O. subinsectifera and come from a location in the Navarra region of Northern Spain, near Pamplona. This particular site was the home for both the two full species and also the form luteomarginata , differentiation was nonetheless quite straightforward. The tiny size and small lateral lobes of O. subinsectifera is diagnostic, luteomarginata, although partly yellow, retains the longer arms (lateral lobes) and larger size of O. insectifera, whilst the hybrid O. insectifera x subinsectifera retains the larger size of the former and the lesser arms of the latter. See comparative illustrations 5, 6 and 7.

The pictures date from the beginning of May at which time the flowers were only just beginning to fully open.

 O. subinsectifera                                                      O. insectifera f luteomarginata                              O. insectifera x subinsectifera