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Ophrys pallidula

This species was first described from the Thripti region of Crete by Paulus in 2007 and is a newly recognized member of the O. fusca group.

O. pallidula resulted from a study into the Cretan late flowering fusca group and is endemic to the Thripti mountains in the east of the island. Although extremely local it does not appear to be particularly uncommon and indeed has been found to readily hybridize with the similar O. phaidra. When it comes to identification this latter species is the cause of some confusion, a situation not helped by the presence of intermediates. O. pallidula is very reminiscent of O. lindia from Rhodes and like that species, the colour of the lip is a pale chestnut brown, although this does not necessarily distinguish it from O. phaidra which although normally darker can often appear with this chestnut colouration. These two species, as well as the very rare O. cressa, share similar flowering times (late March and April) depending on altitude.

The speculum of O. pallidula is variable both in colouration and extent. In some examples it may be large and reach the sinus (see pictures 3 & 4) and in others be restricted to the central area without touching the margins at all. The base colour ranges from brown to metallic blue but is generally quite dull,  usually with a visible milky crescent. There is invariably a bright yellow marginal band and this can often be broad. The illustrations date from the middle of April and come from the Oreino district of eastern Crete.