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

Ophrys lucentina

O. lucentina was first described from Alicante, Spain by Delforge in 1999. There were however some
professional misgivings with regard to the material on which Delforge had based his paper and subsequently in 2001, Messrs Lowe, Piera and Crespo compiled and presented a further paper to the Journal of European Orchids, using what they considered genetically purer material and referring to the orchid as O. dianica. (From the Dianic mountains of Alicante)

This is another species where differences of view amongst the experts, make the provision of a definitive description difficult for the authors. Most of these difficulties surround the fact that O. lucentina can be very hard to separate from the frequent intermediates produced by hybridization amongst a group of other species eg:- O. lutea x O. bilunulata, O. forestieri, O. fusca etc.  It is for this same reason that accurately detailing the species distribution is problematic and potentially misleading.

Whether or not the range of this species extends to Portugal, Northern Spain or even France is a matter for debate but there is general agreement that O. lucentina  has its base in the Alicante region of Southern Spain where it is both very localized and uncommon. It is a striking orchid and not least because of the the unusually vivid and broad yellow marginal band, this is however a feature that doesn't help to separate it from O. bilunulata, which can share this characteristic. Although the flowers are quite conspicuous, they are few in number and the plant itself is slender, spindly and easily overlooked.

The pictures come from Xato in the Province of Alicante and date from the first week of April.