John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys  pollinensis
This is a member of the thirteen strong O. argolica group which was first described from Salerno in 2000.
 
It's an  Italian  endemic whose range is limited to the region in the west of the country,  south of Salerno and extending as far as northern Calabria. Much of this area is made up of the Cilento and Pollino National Parks and indeed the name of this Ophrys records its association with Mount Pollino.

O. pollinensis is a fairly distinctive orchid and unlikely to be confused with others of the genus, except at the northern most fringe of its distribution,  where its  range  marginally overlaps with that of fellow group member O. crabronifera.  Some authorities believe that the two are in fact varieties of the same species whilst others feel that O. pollinensis replaces O. crabronifera as a species as one travels further southwards.  The authors don't  have a firm view on this issue but can confirm with certainty however that the two (varieties or species) have been found growing together in the Cilento National Park without any evidence of intermediates.

Whilst the status of the plant clearly requires further research it has been established that the species appears to be of hybrid origin, with O. crabonifera, O. biscutella and possibly O. fuciflora  as genetic contributors. The influence of the latter species would certainly account for the greater complexity of the speculum as compared to O. crabronifera.

The pictures are all from the Cilento National Park and date from the last week of April.    







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