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Ophrys tenthredinifera x dyris

O. tenthredinifera was first described by Willdenow from Algeria in 1805 and its name literally translates to "bearing sawfly", thus accounting for its common name of Sawfly Orchid.

It is a member of the O. tenthredinifera grouping and as with the majority of the group it readily hybridizes. The plant depicted here however, is one of the more unusual genetic combinations involving O. dyris, which as can be seen has produced a most striking flower.

The distribution of the two species coincides over a fairly large area including the Iberian peninsula, the Balearic islands and Morocco. All these regions therefore possess the potential for this hybrid to occur, though as has already been mentioned it has not been widely recorded.  O. tenthredinifera  accepts a wide range of habitat conditions including often strongly acid substrates which as a resolute calceophile, would not be tolerated by O. dyris. The chances of the two species meeting are therefore at their most probable on Alkaline soils in dry open woodland, these being exactly the conditions in which the pictured plant was found.

The photograph comes from a site near Hornos in the Province of Jaen, Spain and  dates from the 1st of April.