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

O. rhodia was first described as a subspecies by Baumann and Kunkele in 1986 from the Aegean island of Rhodes. Delforge subsequently conferred full species status in 1990.

Along with the very similar O. umbilicata and O. attica this plant was previously better known as part of the Mount Carmel group of orchids and over the years has been described as a variety or sub species of several similar Ophrys including very recently, O. scolopax. Its rightful grouping and nomenclature is however currently subject to study and decisions are awaited. 

At present O. rhodia is maintained within the O. oestrifera  group, all of whose members largely occur in the Eastern Mediterranean and near East. Its range is not fully understood but certainly the Aegean basin, principally Rhodes and Karpathos. It was previously thought to be present on Cyprus but a recent paper by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuen concluded that both it and the Cypriot O. attica were synonomous and in fact a new taxon. As a consequence they have been reclassified and are now jointly considered to constitute the new endemic species, O. astarte.

The habitat requirement of O. rhodia seems quite undemanding and it may be found in most alkaline environments up to about 600m. It can be a tall, robust plant growing up to about 35cms but its flowers are small. The uniform green sepals differentiate it from O. umbilicata and the divergent, outward pointing lateral lobes from O. attica. The illustrations are from Rhodes and date from early April. The final two pictures are O. polyxo x rhodia.