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

O. rhodia was first described as a subspecies by Baumann and Kunkele in 1986 from the Aegean island of Rhodes. Delforge subsequently conferred full species status in 1990.

Along with the very similar O. umbilicata and O. attica this plant was previously better known as part of the Mount Carmel group of orchids and over the years has been described as a variety or sub species of several similar Ophrys including very recently, O. scolopax. Its rightful grouping and nomenclature is however subject to study but remains at present somewhat confusing. 

O. rhodia currently rests within the O. oestrifera  group, all of whose members largely reside in the Eastern Mediterranean and near East. Its range is not fully understood but certainly the Aegean, principally Rhodes and Karpathos. It was previously thought to be present on Cyprus but a recent paper by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuen concludes that both it and O. attica are in fact endemic new species. The erstwhile O. attica has been reclassified as O. astarte but it remains to be seen what is determined as the future for the Cypriot O. rhodia ,which could not be easily lumped in with O. astarte.

The habitat requirement of O. rhodia seems quite undemanding and it may be found in most alkaline environments up to about 600m. It can be a tall, robust plant growing up to about 35cms but its flowers are small. The uniform green sepals differentiate it from O. umbilicata and the divergent, outward pointing lateral lobes from O. attica. The illustrations are from Rhodes and date from early April. The final two pictures are O. polyxo x rhodia.











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