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

 serotina was first described from Frosinone, Italy in 2000 and its name refers to the late flowering period of the species.

It is a member of the 
13 strong O. tetraloniae group which takes its name from the Tetralonia genus of bees comprising the most significant pollinators of this family of Ophrys. Several of the species are to be found in the Mediterranean and sub Mediterranean regions of southern France and the northern half of peninsula  Italy where natural variation and hybridisation cause considerable problems in distinguishing the various species. It seems highly probable that this group has a polyphyletic origin encompassing genetic input from several other groups and this would certainly account for the high degree of morphological variability.

As far as was thought, O. serotina  could only be found very locally in
central Italy but although its  precise range is still not known with certainty, it has now been established that it occurs more widely, including far northern Italy and southern France.   

Identifying key characteristics that can yield a certain diagnosis is difficult and there are few features that could not be equally indicative of other group members. The appendage is extremely well developed and multi -toothed. The column is usually elongated. The basal swellings are be prominent, hairless and yellow on the inside face. The lip is globular and generally slightly scolopaxoid with a bold speculum that is often candicoid (with thick white lining).  Petals variable but often quite long (up to 5mm).

The illustrations are from the central Appenines of Umbria and Abruzzo dating from the end of May.