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


O.neglecta
was first described by Filippo Parlatore from Rome as early as 1887, its name means "a species which had been forgotten or overlooked". It is immediately recognizable as a member of the colourful O. tenthredinifera group which are commonly known as the Sawfly Orchids, this particular member being referred to as the Italian Sawfly Orchid.

O. neglecta is very similar to its cousins but exhibits two key distinguishing features that serve to separate it, the significantly smaller size of the flower and the prominent tuft of long and very coarse hair directly above the appendage. Confusion between the species is however unlikely, as to our knowledge there is little overlap in range except some convergence with O. tardans in the very south. The distribution of O. neglecta is confined to Corsica, Sardinia,  central and southern Italy but excluding Sicily where it is replaced by the larger flowered O. grandiflora.  It may also be found in southern  Croatia, south of Dubrovnic and there are further reports of occurrences along the Dalmatian coast, where it's suspected that colonization is taking place via wind-borne seed from eastern peninsular Italy.

This species thrives in a number of different habitat types, from alkaline to acidic, dry to wet and in full sun or sometimes quite heavy shade. Unsurprisingly therefore it can be widespread and abundant within the confines of its Italian and Adriatic range.

The photographs come from the Gargano peninsula, Calabria and Sardinia, dating from the last week of April.