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Ophrys doerfleri


Although first discovered on Gavdos Island in 1904, O. doerfleri  wasn't formally described until Fleischmann did so more than 20 years later in 1925. At this time the species was closely linked to O. cretica.

In 2005, Helmut Presser studied some Cretan colonies of what were thought to be the typical Greek O. mammosa and it was eventually concluded that these plants were in fact the same as those collected from Gavdos and named O. doerfleri. By way of complication Messrs Baumann and Lorenz (also in 2005) had separately been reviewing this species and named it O. mammosa subsp alsomammosa.

Given that the original name (O. doerfleri) had been incorrectly linked to a species O. reinholdii group it is felt that the the latter name is more appropriate and may well be the one that goes forward. Nonetheless it has now been agreed by most authorites that O. mammosa does not occur on Crete and that the family is represented by O. doerfleri.

This species is smaller flowered and the plant more spindly but is otherwise very similar to O. mammosa. Around a third of flowers possess pink sepals and this is a feature which is unknown outside Crete. The single illustration opposite was taken
in the Vai area of Crete and dates from the 23rd of April.