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

O. negadensis was first described from Ioannina (Greece) by G and W Thiele in 2001 and is a member of the O. exaltata group of Ophrys.  Its name refers to the small town of Negades, near which it was first discovered and which still remains at the centre of its limited distribution.

Until recently O. negadensis was a name applied to a small group of similar Ophrys that were locally quite frequent in north west Greece. In 2002 however, Hirth split this taxon into two separate species, reassigning O. negadensis to the O. exaltata group, with O. zeusii becaming a newly described species, still within the O. mammosa family. Although they share very similar habitat preferences, O. negadensis is much the rarer of the two species, with a significantly more limited range. Both may occasionally be found in a variety of habitats but they undoubtedly show a distinct preference for a degree of shade that may be found in open woodland, together with adjacent clearings and edges.

Separating these two species is reasonably straightforward and there are several characteristics which serve to differentiate them. Perhaps the most significant of these is lip pilosity, with O. zeusii exhibiting whitish marginal hair only on the shoulders and upper lateral lobes. In  O. negadensis, as with most other members of the O. exaltata group, the marginal hair more or less encircles the labellum. The lip of O. zeusii is generally more flared and as a consequence the yellow margin appears broader and more prominent. A further feature that divides these two taxons is the flowering period,  as although O. negadensis may still be found in early May, it will by this date be considerably past its best and at a time when O. zeusii is only just beginning to appear. The pictures are from the Negades area, dating from the first week of May and as can be seen they were fast fading.