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

Ophrys splendida

O. splendida
was first described by Golz and Reinhard from Bouches-du-Rhone (France) in 1980 and its name means nothing more or less than splendid (its common name is the Brilliant Orchid).  

This is a member of the interesting O. incubacea group and has a restricted distribution in the Provence region of southern France, mainly centered on Var. A population of similar plants have been found in the north of France in Normandy but these are not thought to be naturally occurring and probably the result of a mischievous introduction. In its southern strongholds it's somewhat localised but can be found in good numbers in its favoured locations.

O. splendida can thrive in a range of conditions but always on calcareous soils and usually in grassland and woodland clearings in full sun. Its a distinctive Ophrys and despite some natural variability is unlikely to be confused with any other species. The sepals are virtually always pale and usually white with strong green veining. Picture 4 depicts a rare example with pink sepals (very possibly a hybrid). The petals are generally concolourous or pale pink and often exhibit yellow to orange margins.

The lip is usually entire with a submarginal band of dark hair and a broad yellow, hairless margin. The stigmatic cavity has a broad, lime-green specular stage that often reaches and sometimes encompasses the dark pseudo-eyes. Basal swellings may be absent or well developed.  The photographs all come from the area around Bagnols-en- Foret (Var) and date from the second and third weeks of May..