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


O. omegaifera
was first described by Fleischmann from Lassithi (Crete) in 1925 and its name alludes to the prominent omega like crescents at the tip of the speculum.

This is primarily an Aegean species with a distribution from the Cyclades down to Crete, southern Anatolia  and east to Cyprus. It includes the islands of Chios, Samos, Lesbos, Karpathos and Rhodes but is a very local and uncommon Ophrys everywhere.

O. omegaifera is a member of the small (but ever expanding) O. omegaifera  group which has recently been  receiving the close attention of several eminent botanists and not least Messrs Delforge and Paulus. Their work has been mainly concentrated in the Aegean islands and has resulted in the omegaifera plants from this  region being split into a further three species differentiated primarily by geography and flowering times. These new taxons comprise O. apollonae, O. polycratis and O. meropes (Kos only).

O. omegaifera is a distinctive species that flowers from mid March through to mid April. Its flowering is preceeded by that of O. basilissa and O. sitiaca and then followed by O. polycratis,  it can however be concurrent with O. apollonae. These flowering times are of course influenced by altitude and latitude so need to  be treated with some caution. For the moment we think care needs to be taken with the whole group as it seems to be getting perhaps unnecessarily complicated.

The pictures come from Crete, Chios and Rhodes and date from the first week of April.