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

O. vasconica was first described from Gers, France in 1969 and its name refers to the species connection with this historic region of Gascony. It is an uncommon orchid, very similar in appearance to species within the O. omegaifera  group but which has in fact been recently transferred into the O. obaesa family. 

This species is considered to be one of hybridogenous origin that arose from the introgression of O. dyris by a member of the O. fusca complex. This would also seem to be at the root of the formation of fellow Iberian, O. algarvensis, though this is still very much hypothesis and much work remains to prove the theory. O. vasconica is to be found in the Basque regions of both France and Spain as well as in Spanish Catalonia and probably Mallorca, it is however an uncommon species in all parts of this limited range.  

O. vasconica is both polytypic and heterogeneous and plants from individual populations vary significantly. It seems probable that the original speciation processes within these populations didn't necessarily involve the same O. fusca. species. Identification can be further confused where stabilized colonies of O. vasconica hybridize back with O. fusca s.l. The first nine pictures on this page are from a colony in Navarra where O. arnoldii  was the clear genetic influence. The last picture comes from the well known French population near Bugarach where O. sulcata (another member of the O. obaesa group) was the dominant Pseudophrys. There are those who prefer not to aggregate the various forms within one species and consider sub-speciation to be more appropriate. The pictures date from mid April.