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

This is an orchid endemic to France and which has its headquarters in the southern Vercors area of Drome indeed its name means "from Drome". It has a few other stations in adjoining Provinces such as the Ardeche, Bouches-du-Rhone and possibly Isere.

It's a very local orchid but can be frequent in its favoured areas, these areas always being dry locations in full sun, rocky hillsides, garrigue, abandoned olive groves and light woodland. Its preferred habitat is always at altitude though usually in the Alpine foothills between 250 and 1000 metres rather than in the high mountains.  

O. drumana is easily recognized as a member of the O. bertolonii  group and at up to 40cms is certainly one  of the sturdier. It's appearance, although somewhat variable, is similar to other of its cousins but although there is a small overlap of range with O. saratoi , its isolated distribution is a key distinguishing factor  when trying to separate them. An increasing number of experts are beginning to question the status of the O. bertolonii group representatives in south west France and it's possible that some rationalisation may take place in future years.

As already mentioned, O. drumana  can be a variable orchid with notable differences in both lip shape and speculum colouration. Plant size is however consistent, being tall with up to a dozen individual flowers, usually growing in small, loose colonies. The illustrations are all from the southern Vercors,  predominantly in the area between the small towns of Combovin and Beafort-sur-Gervanne. They date from the last week of May.
 






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