John and Gerry's    Orchids of Britain and Europe
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Ophrys speculum hybrids
 

O. speculum
is one of the Mediterranean's most widespread Ophrys occuring throughout the region but in varying degrees of frequency. It is considered an extreme rarity in France and northern Italy and is probably at its most common in southern continental Greece, the Aegean Islands and Sicily where  although sporadic, can occur in huge colonies.

It's a small but distinctive orchid that cannot readily be confused with any other Ophrys apart from its close relatives O. regis-fernandii  and O. vernixia with which there are some small overlaps in range. In the Aegean it is present on Lesbos whereas on Chios and Samos it is replaced by O. regis-fernandii. Rhodes maintains populations of both and hybrids are known to occur.

We have said that O. speculum is not easily confused with other Ophrys but it is however a ready hybridizer. The results of such gene sharing can often result in large swarms of hybrids growing well away from pure parent species. Offspring can often be quite stunning and this page shows a small selection of these plants found on the island of Sicily. Photos 1 to 6 depict O. speculum x passionis v garganica. Numbers 7 & 8 are O. speculum x  bertolonii and numbers 9 & 10, O. speculum x incubacea.  

These  hybrids  may be found throughout the range of the main species and in varying types of habitat from open grassland to garigue and light woodland, though always on alkaline substrates, most frequently where O. speculum  occurs in large numbers in tightly packed colonies. 







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