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

This is a member of the small, six strong O. obaesa group that was first described by messrs Delforge , Devillers and Devillers-Terschuren from Potenza, Italy in the year 2000.

O. lucana is endemic to peninsular Italy, notably Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria where although local it can be abundant in its favoured locations. Its a short Ophrys but thickset and carries anything from two to six relatively large flowers with a lip that is a characteristicly reddish brown in colour. The hairs of the lip are very straight and not particularly dense, giving the flower a somewhat shiny appearance with an overall effect very reminiscent of a  slightly hairy chestnut. The photograph opposite depicts this feature very well.

It's a late flowerer, from May to June and the plants featured here were photographed during the first week of May when although being part of a sizeable colony, the vast majority were still in bud and at least a week away from appearing in any numbers.

This species should be relatively easy to identify in that there are few other Ophrys with which to confuse it. Its range overlaps with the rare O. lojaconoi but flowering periods are very different and plants of this species will be dead and gone by the time O. lucana appears. O. sulcata  also overlaps in range but despite being a fellow group member is very distinct, particularly in its much bigger stigmatic cavity.

The pictures are all from the Province of Puglia in southern Italy.