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

O. cinereophila was first described by Paulus and Gack from Lassithi, Crete in 1998 and its name is  a reference to its pollinator - Andrena cinereophila.

This is one of eleven species that comprise the O. subfusca group and which is thought to form the link between the O. lutea and O. fusca formations. Although this group seems to be largely centred on Sicily and  North Africa, O. cinereophila is to be found in a wider range that takes it from   continental Greece, eastwards through the Aegean and Cyprus into Asia .

Within this distribution O. cinereophila encounters fellow group member O. lindia with which it can easily be confused. Species of the O. lutea group and particularly those with a complex speculum can also present recognition challenges.

It is a smallish plant, rarely exceeding 20cms in height, though the inflorecence may be quite dense with up to 10  small flowers. As  may be seen from the illustrations it can be of variable appearance and  photos 1 to 4 depict the most typical examples. As with O. phryganae, one of the key  distinguishing features of this species is the knee joint bend below its stigmatic cavity and which gives the flower a distinctive crescent shaped sideways profile.

The photos come from Cyprus, Rhodes and Lesbos.The final four pictures are all from Cyprus and depict atypical examples,  the third of which is a hybrid with O. israelitica.







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