John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Ophrys species Links

  Ophrys parvimaculata

This species was first described by Danesch and Danesch from Brindisi, Italy in 1975 and its name refers to the small size of the speculum. It was initially named O. fuciflora ssp parvimaculata but subsequently a later paper by Paulus and Gack promoted it to full species status. O. parvimaculata is a member of the O. bornmuelleri group of Ophrys.

This is a rare orchid confined to the south east of Italy, principally in the provinces of Puglia, Lecce and Basilicate. It is almost always found in partly shaded positions, particularly favouring open woodland, hedge banks and overgrown scrub where it happily grows shrouded under or within bushes and brambles. As has already been mentioned it is a rare Ophrys and is often found as an isolated single plant growing well away from its nearest neighbour. There are however just a few areas in northern Gargano where populations of thinly scattered individuals still exist.

O. parvimaculata is one of the easier fuciflorids to identify, not least because their are few other similar species growing within it limited range. The sepals are virtually always green, though occasionally they may be either lightly washed with pink or be so extremely pale as to appear white. Both O. celiensis and O. fuciflora  can sometimes exhibit green or green tinted sepals but in these instances, the small size of the speculum will always differentiate O. parvimaculata from its cousins in the O. fuciflora group.

The pictures come from Gargano and date from the middle of April. These plants could be expected to flower through into May.