|John and Gerry's Orchids of Britain and Europe|
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Orchis provincialis x mascula
O. provincialis was first described by Balbis from Var, France in 1806 and O. mascula from Gotland
Sweden in 1755.
The two species share a significant overlap of range, which coupled with similar habitat preferences
create an opportunity for hybridization that is rarely declined and as a consequence, the offspring
of this gene sharing are perhaps one of the more common Orchis hybrids. This is particularly true in
southern France, Italy and Spain but the position is somewhat more difficult to assess traveling east,
due to the uncertain status of O. mascula which is confused by the presence of other O. mascula group
species such as O. ovalis and O. pinetorum.
O. provincialis x mascula can be somewhat varied in appearance but is generally much as depicted in
the illustrations that accompany this text IE:- In colouration the lip is pale with the spur, sepals
and fringes of the lip a darker pink or lilac. As can be seen, the central spotted area of the lip often
exhibits a yellow background which although a feature present in some populations of O. provincialis
was interestingly not apparent in any of the plants growing near these hybrids. The examples here
are perhaps at the paler end of a range of variation, which can see the colour intensity of some plants
reaching the deeper crimson associated with O. mascula flowers.
The correct name for this hybrid is Orchis x penzigiana.
The photographs are all from central Spain and date from the middle of April.