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


O. halia was first described by Paulus from Rhodes in 2002 and was named after the nymph Halia. This   species is endemic to the Greek island of Rhodes and is a member of the large O. bornmuelleri group that has a significant representation in and around the Aegean.

The Aegean fuciflorid species have been much studied over the last few years and O. halia was one of several newly recognized species to be described. This research is ongoing and it seems highly likely that more will be forthcoming in the years to come. The Aegean islands are proving fertile ground for the species hunters and the rate of splitting from this region is a source of considerable scepticism from certain botanical authorities. Having said this, O. halia is one of the more convincing new species and is relatively easy to identify, even on the island of Rhodes which supports several similar Ophrys of the same and closely related groups.

This species is somewhat variable in terms of lip shape and specular pattern but there are two features   which can be regarded as characteristic and reasonably consistent. The first of these is the petals which   are both erect and elongated in a similar way to those of O. linearis (although they are less acuminate and   more triangular in shape). Secondly and importantly the sepals are invariably a base colour of pink with a green wash that although always present may vary from a light shading to a heavy coating that can virtually eliminate the pink colouration altogether.

These pictures date from the first two weeks of April and are from the south of Rhodes around Kattavia.