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Ophrys tommasinii

O. tommasinii was first described from the Croatian island of Losinj by Visiani in 1851 and is a member of the O. incubacea group of Ophrys. It is named after de Tommasini, an eminent 19th century Austro-Hungarian botanist.

This species is thought to be endemic to Croatia, having a limited distribution in Istria and the larger islands of the Quarnero archipelago. It is the third of the Croatian Spider Orchids to flower, coming into bloom in April, three weeks before O. illyrica and some three weeks after both O. liburnica and O. incantata. It is not an uncommon species, being found in short grassland, abandoned terraces and open woodland on most suitable calcareous substrates .

O. tommasinii is very much a species of the Istrian peninsula and is unlikely therefore to be confused with either O. incantata or O. liburnica which are restricted to the Adriatic coasts and hinterland of central and southern Dalmatia. There is also a significant difference in flowering times which allow little overlap. There is however some concurrence with O. illyrica and during our visit to Istria in the first week of May, both species were flowering, albeit that O. tommasinii was in decline and O. illyrica just  appearing.

There are characteristics that seem more pronounced in O. tommasinii but which cannot in themselves be regarded as completely diagnostic. These include the pinkish tinged, thicker band of sub-marginal hair, the larger pseudo-eyes, the less broad yellow margin and perhaps most significantly the presence of developed basal swellings. Whilst this latter feature may be absent from O. tommasinii it is rarely present in O. illyrica. The pictures date from the first week of May.