Ophrys speculum ssp. lusitanica

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Ophrys speculum ssp. lusitanica close up

Sometimes referred to by the synonym Ophrys vernixia, or simply as Ophrys lusitanica this subspecies of the Mirror Orchid Ophrys speculum is rare and localised.

Description

The height of the plant is variable - it grows to between 15 - 50cm tall. Each inforescence carries up to 15 drab-looking flowers. The petals and sepals are green suffused with purple. The lip is the main distinguishing feature (from Ophrys speculum) and is recurved and deeply divided into three lobes. The two lateral lobes resemble 'arms' held out to the side of the central lobe. There is a greenish border to the lip which is fringed with rusty-brownish hairs.

Ophrys speculum ssp. lusitanica whole plantDistribution

Ophrys lusitanica, has a fragmented distribution centred in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is known to occur in the Extremadura region of Spain.

There is a further subspecies of the Mirror Orchid called Ophrys Regis-ferdinandii which is endemic to some of the eastern Aegean Islands and which looks very similar to Ophrys lusitanica.

Habitat

This orchid grows in stony habitats on calcareous substrates. In the Algarve it can often be found on the edge of footpaths and rough tracks.

Flowering times

It flowers slightly later than Ophrys speculum - from the end of March to the beginning of May.

This specimen shown here was photographed close to the coast in the Algarve in Portugal in April.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2014) Wild Orchids of the Algarve - how, where and when to find them; First Nature

Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock (2014) Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve; Kew Publishing

Henrik AErenlund Pedersen & Niels Faurholdt (2007) Ophrys - The Bee Orchids of Europe; Kew

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black


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