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

O. apollonae  was first described by Paulus and Hirth in 2009 from the Aegean island of Rhodes.  Its name is a refence to the village of Apollona which nestles in the Southern foothills of the  mountain on which it was discovered and studied.

This species has recently been separated from O. omegaifera  and differs from it both in the small  nunmber of flowers it produces (usually just one or two) and the individual flowers small size. Other differentiating characteristics include the way in which it holds its flowers horizontally out from  the top of the stem, its slightly earlier flowering period and its different pollinator (in O. apollonae this is Anthophora  nigriceps). The acute angle at which it holds its flowers can be detected in the pictures, as the subjects seem to be "floating" without a stem.

As mentioned above, this is an early flowerer and is usually at its best in the first weeks of March,  it can though be found at lower altitudes in mid February. O. apollonae favours a shady position often along the verges of woodland roads. It also seem to prefer higher elevations though this may simply reflect the fact that most suitable mixed woodland tends to be found at these altitudes.

Its full distribution has not yet been established but is known with certainty to occur on Rhodes,  Chios and Samos. On Rhodes it is not at all uncommon and a walk along the top road across Mt Profitas Ilias at the right time of year will almost certainly produce some plants. The photographs are from Rhodes and date from the end of March at which time the plants were very much in decline.