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Ophrys aymoninii

O. aymoninii was first described from Aveyron (France) in 1981 and was named in honour of the French
botanist G. G. Aymonin. It is a distinctive member of the small O. insectifera group which due to its restricted range is unlikely to be confused with other Ophrys other than the partly yellow lipped form of O. insectifera itself, O. insectifera f luteomarginata.

As already indicated O. aymoninii has a very limited range in southern Causse, a region to which this species is endemic but where it is not at all rare, often occurring in large colonies over a wide area. Its choice of habitat is not particularly demanding but typically favours dry, calcareous soils such as short grassland, road verges and woodland edges. Its growing position can also vary between full sun and semi shade but it is seldom found in substantial shade. O. aymoninii could not be described as a montane species but does seem to prefer high ground between altitudes of 500 and 1000 metres, a preference that is easily catered for in this part of the Massif Central.

Some experts believe that this species is of hybrid origin involving O. insectifera and O. lutea or perhaps O. araneola, siting the yellow margin as a significant feature. Others, including Delforge, discount this, as other characteristics do not support the hypothesis.

It is a late flowerer, first appearing in early May and continuing through to the end of June.  Although not a tall plant, it is sturdy and the inflorescence is more tightly packed than in O. insectifera, with up to 10 individual flowers per stem. O. aymoninii readily hybridizes with other Ophrys, especially with O. araneola and O. insectifera.

                              O. aymoninii x virescens

                            O. aymoninii x insectifera

                             O. aymoninii x insectifera