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

O. arnoldii was first described from Tarragona, Spain by Delforge in 1999 and is named in honour of the contemporary botanist, Mr J. P. Arnold. This is a member of the O. funerea group of Pseudophrys but due to frequent hybridization with elements of the O. fusca group, it often exhibits characteristics of the latter species. There is not a great consensus amongst experts as to the true status of this species, with many preferring to include it to the ongoing debate surrounding the other Western Mediterranean Pseudophrys such as O. lupercalis and O. forestieri.

As with all the Pseudophrys of Northern Spain and Southern France the distribution of this species is not fully understood, it is however known to be common and sometimes abundant in Northern and Eastern  Spain together with Southern France as far as Bouches-du-Rhone. It will tolerate a range of conditions from full sun to mid shade and dry to moist soils, though always over calcareous substrates.

O. arnoldii is a robust plant with flowers that are large and often numerous (up to ten) with lateral lobes that although separated from the median lobe by significant sinuses, are invariably folded under in a way that usually disguises this feature. As has already been mentioned, this species frequently suffers genetic ingression and identification is often difficult,  although it's late flowering is a useful, if not diagnostic differentiating feature. It seldom appears before mid April and can be found in exceptional conditions as late as July.

The pictures come from various locations in Eastern and Northern Spain and date from the last week in April, at which time the plants were just beginning their flowerng cycle.