John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
Home Back to Ophrys species Links

                                Ophrys delforgei
O. delforgei was first described from Bouches-du-Rhone, France in 2006 by Devillers-Terschuren and Devillers. This outcome resulted from further study of work already undertaken by Pierre Delforge, who had been examining the species O. forestieri , described by Reichenbach as long ago as 1851.

As with other groups of Ophrys in Southern France, there is a measure of disagreement amongst experts as  to how the early flowering Pseudophrys of the region should be split and positioned, what follows therefore  must be regarded as an interpretation only.  O. delforgei  emerged from the aforementioned  study as a consequence of the split of O. forestieri into two separate species,  this being the smaller flowered and the other being the larger flowered taxon which retained the name of O. forestieri. This latter species now corresponds with the Ophrys formally regarded as the widespread Mediterranean species O. lupercalis. As far as is known the prescence of O. lupercalis further east is not in question,  though quite where its range now starts and finishes is uncertain.

The distribution of O. delforgei  is  centred on  Bouches-du- Rhone but extends eastwards to the Ligurian  coast and westwards as far as (and probably beyond) Aude. It can be abundant, forming colonies over large areas of suitable calcareous substrates, though seeming to prefer lowland sites below 400m. Although a small plant in all its parts, it is not spindly and can in fact appear to be fairly robustly built.  It seldom carries many individual flowers with five as a maximum and more often, no more than three. The inflorescence is carried in a loose cluster at the top of the stem and the flowers are generally held at a near horizontal angle.

This species is an early flowerer and along with O. forestieri can easily be found in full bloom by the end of March. Differentiating the two species is most easily achieved  by labellum size with O. delforgei measuring 10mm or less and O. forestieri 13mm or more.