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

This species was first described by Danesch and Danesch from Foggia, Italy in 1971 and its name relates to  the similarity with its close cousin O. bertolonii.

O. bertoloniiformis is a member of the 10 strong O. bertolonii group and shares this groups familiar and  distinctive appearance. It's endemic not just to southern Italy, but specifically to the Gargano peninsula  where it can be found growing side by side with O. bertolonii, and where it is actually the more numerous  of the two species. There have been various reports of O. bertoloniiformis occuring in areas of southern  Italy outside Gargano, these have however been largely ascribed to the product of hybridization between  the much more widespread O. bertolonii and other green sepalled Ophrys species. Some authorities regard this species and indeed the hybrids as synonymous with O. flavicans from across the Adriatic in Dalmatia.

If you refer to the O. bertolonii page within this site you will find a photograph of a plant found in Sicily that exhibits a strong resemblance to its Gargano relatives, including the shallow notch accommodating the  appendage. In O.bertolonii this notch is generally much deeper and this feature serves as one of the important differentiators between the two species.

This orchid is a variable plant in its own right but can appear more so due to the "Gargano effect" which seems to predispose most Ophrys species with a gene sharing propensity unrivaled in other parts of the Mediterranean. It is suspected that several of the plants illustrated here have been the results of such  exposure.

The photographs are all from Gargano and date from the first week of May.