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Ophrys  pollinensis

This is a member of the fourteen strong O. argolica group which was first identified by Nelson as a subspecies of O. fuciflora. This was subsequently corrected and formally described as O. pollinensis by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuren from Salerno in 2000.
O. pollinensis is an Italian endemic whose range is limited to the west of the country, south of Salerno and extending as far as northern Calabria. Much of this area is made up of the Cilento and Pollino National Parks and indeed the name of this Ophrys refers to its association with Mount Pollino. It is a hybridogenous species with O. crabronifera, O. biscutella and a member of the O. fuciflora grouping as progenitors. Although a  distinctive orchid, it is extremely variable and as can be seen from the photos, often exhibit features more usually associated with its O. fuciflora heritage, notably the speculum which unusually for the O. argolica group can often comprise a conventional H pattern, attached at the base and surrounding a reddish basal field.

In northerly parts of its range, there is a marginal overlap with close relative O. crabronifera, flowering times do however differ with O. pollinensis being significantly later, even at lower altitudes. Whilst in typical forms identification can be straightforward, some variations exhibit strong morphological similarity to O. crabronifera and its unsurprising that some authorities believe the two are in fact conspecific. Others accept the distinction and further assert that there is no overlap, with O. pollinensis completely replacing O. crabronifera as one travels south.

The pictures are all from the Cilento National Park in Campania, dating from the last week of April.