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


O. vasconica was first described from Gers, France in 1969 and its name refers to the species connection with the historic region of Gascony. This is an uncommon member of the  O. omegaifera  group and belongs to a set of three species which occur in the western Mediterranean, primarily in the Iberian peninsula where they have become isolated from their primarily Aegean based cousins.

The other two members are O. algarvensis and O. dyris and its the introgression of this latter species by O. fusca s.l. that would seem to be at the root of the formation of both O. algarvensis and O. vasconica. It should be mentioned however that this hybridogenous background is still hypothesis and much work remains to prove the theory. This species is to be found in the Basque country of both France and Spain as well as in Spanish Catalonia aand Mallorca, it is however an uncommon species in all parts of this limited range.  

O. vasconica is both polytypic and heterogeneous and plants from individual populations vary significantly. It seems probable that the original speciation processes within these populations didn't necessarily involve the same species of O. fusca. Identification can be further confused where stabilized colonies of O. vasconica hybridize back with O. fusca s.l.  The first nine pictures on this page are from a colony in Navarra where   O. arnoldii  was the clear genetic influence. The last picture comes from the well known French population near Bugarach where O. sulcata was the dominant Pseudophrys. There are those who prefer not to aggregate the various forms within one species and consider sub-speciation to be more appropriate. The pictures date from mid April.
         











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