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

This Ophrys was first described in 2007 by Pierre Delforge as one of four new species, three of which were thought at the time to be endemic to the island of Chios (the others being O. orphanidea, O. pelinaea, and O. chiosica). It would appear now that these species may have a more widespread  distribution.

Having studied various descriptions of this species, its clear that views differ on some of its key characteristics. What follows therefore is based on personal observations and doesn't necessarily conform entirely to type.  O. masticorum can be variable but obligingly demonstrates three key features, which in combination, point fairly conclusively to its identity. 1 :- Large lateral sepals which seem to frame the back of the lip like a pair of angel wings.  2:- Dorsal sepal strongly inclined forward in a very similar way to O.lapethica 3 :- The lip narrows sharply down to the appendage  from a relatively wide waisted middle lobe. Other authors have described the lip as normally narrow waisted.

O. masticorum is a relatively tall, lax flowered plant that may produce up to 15 flowers, though the number would be more typically between five and ten.

O. masticorum takes its name from the municipality of Mastichochoria, whose municipal capital is  Pyrgi and it was on the outskirts of this town that these orchids were photographed just as they had commenced flowering in the second  week of April 2008.







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