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

This is another of the eastern Aegean specialities belonging to the O. attiviria group of species and whose name refers to the village of Phaselis in Anatolia.

O. phaseliana was first described by Ruckbrodt and Ruckbrodt in 1996 and has always presented taxonomic challenges in terms of its relationship with fellow group member O. parosica. Delforge always accepted the possibility of conspecificity with these closely related species and it would appear he now accepts that O. phaseliana's full species status should perhaps be reduced a varietal position as O. parosica v  phaseliana. The distributions of the two taxons are now known to be wider than was originally thought and they undoubtedly overlap. Where this occurs, the natural variation of the species also overlaps and creates a merging of identity.

Speaking unscientifically, we find the eastern Aegean Pseudophrys a most demanding group and these two species are especially frustrating and difficult to separate. Not only are they both variable as species, they vary from island to island to the point that an O. parosica from one can morphologically appear identical to an O. phaseliana from another ! The illustrations are all from Chios and depict plants with the typical brown/yellow marbling that is usually present, even if only vaguely.

Other key characteristics of O. phaseliana is the more pronounced elliptical shape of the lip and the noticeably raised prominences which give a greater impression of lobe separation. The pictures date from the first week of April.