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

sphegifera was first described  by Carl Ludwig Willdenow from Algeria as long ago as 1805 and its name literally means "wasp bearing". Its common name is the Tunisian Bee Orchid.

This is an uncommon member of the small O. scolopax group with a range
that takes it from Southern Spain and Portugal across the Mediterranean to Tunisia and Algeria. This distribution model is not however universally accepted, with some authorities believing it to be limited to northern Africa whilst others allow for a wider dispersal that includes southern France and Sardinia. It can be found growing in very differing types of habitat, tolerating both alkaline and acidic substrates in full sun or mid shade positions.

The range of O. sphegifera brings it into contact with two other closely related and morphologically similar species, namely O. scolopax and O. picta. The most immediately obvious differentiator is perianth colouration with O. sphegifera invariably exhibiting green sepals and petals and the other two species pink through to white. It is not unusual for O. spegifera sepals to be lightly washed pink or O. picta to be washed green but with the former, the base colour is firmly green. O. sphegifera is noticeably the smallest flower of the three and the plant itself is much the spindliest and shortest, rarely exceeding some 25cm. The waistline of O. sphegifera is higher than both its cousins, being at least halfway up the labellum whereas the others are below this point.

The pictures come from an area of southern France near the Spanish border, so clearly fall outside many peoples view of the species range. The plants do however conform to type description and the reader is therefore left to accept or otherwise thier authenticity.