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


O. tardans was first described from Lecce, Italy by Danesch and Danesch in 1972 and is a member of the O. tenthredenifera group of Ophrys. Its name refers to the lateness of its flowering.

Its distribution is restricted to southern Puglia and most particularly to the province of Lecce where,  although still not uncommon, is becoming less frequent in a region where development and agriculture is increasingly making orchid habitat scarce.

This species is a stabilised hybrid between O. candica and O. neglecta and as is usual with such species, although fairly constant in its overall appearance, the individual characteristics of each progenitor are exhibited in varying proportions. O. neglecta is a small flower whose perianth and lip are usually pale in relation to the somewhat gaudy colouration of many of its fellow group members. Typically O. tardans is a larger flower with darker pink sepals and a browner lip, all these features being more reminiscent of O. candica. It is nonetheless unmistakably an O. tenthredenifera group member.

The single most important identification feature is however the speculum, which unlike the usually simple  unadorned necklace found in O. neglecta, is invariably augmented to a greater or lesser degree by the distinctive candicoid, cream blotching so characteristic of O. candica. It should be stressed however that in some cases these markings can be minimal and further that as can be seen from the pictures on the O. neglecta page, not unique.

The pictures date from the middle of May.