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


O. annae was first described from Sassari Province, Sardinia by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuren in 1992 and belongs to the large O. bornmuelleri group of Ophrys. It is named after the daughter of the authors of its description.

This species is endemic to Corsica and Sardinia, where it is both localized and uncommon, growing individually or in small populations on calcareous soils at elevations up to approx 500 metres. In Corsica it is extremely rare, being found only in a small area around Bonifacio in the south of the island. Although tolerant of full sun, it is more usually found in the mid shade offered by olive groves, open woodland or scrubby garrigue and in these conditions can sometimes form small colonies of mixed flower forms, exhibiting various patterns and colouration.

The lip is always entire with a complete band of sub-marginal hair and an uncomplicated speculum that usually encompasses the divergent, conical basal swellings. Sepal colouration varies from pink to white (sometimes green) and petals are similarly variable, though normally at least partially darker. Other easily recognized distinguishing characteristics are its small size, spindly stem and the large, forward pointing appendage. O. annae can first  appear in early April through the warmer (southerly) parts of the island but is generally a late flowerer, coming into bloom towards the end of that month and surviving well into May.

This is a distinctive little Ophrys that is difficult to confuse with any other species, particularly as fellow endemics O. panattensis and O. chestermanii are both much more robust plants and with larger flowers. The pictures are all from central Sardinia, dating from the last week of April, at which time the majority of plants in this part of the island, still possessed only one open flower and many were yet to open at all.