AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Ophrys L., Sp. Pl.: 948 (1753).
Synonyms:
Arachnites F.W.Schmidt, Fl. Boëm. 1: 74 (1793).
Myodium Salisb., Trans. Hort. Soc. London 1: 289 (1812).
Description:
The type species: Ophrys insectifera L.1753
Their scientific name Ophrys is the Greek word for "eyebrow", referring to the furry edges of the lips of several species.
Distribution:
Macaronesia, Europe to Caucasus, Medit. to S. Turkmenistan
They are terrestrial or ground orchids from central to South Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, up to the Caucasus Mountains, but mostly in the Mediterranean region. They are considered the most important group of European terrestrial orchids.
Notes:
Ophrys was first mentioned in the book "Natural History" by Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD).
During summer all Ophrys orchids are dormant as an underground bulbous tuber, which serves as a food reserve. In late summer/autumn they develop a rosette of leaves. Also a new tuber starts to grow and matures until the following spring; the old tuber slowly dies. The next spring the flowering stem starts to grow. During flowering the leaves already start to wither.
Most Ophrys orchids are dependent on symbiotic fungi. Because of this, some species only develop small alternate leaves. Transplanting specimens, especially wild specimens, is difficult, sometimes impossible, due to this symbiosis. The shiny, basal leaves have a green or bluish color. Two to twelve flowers grow on an erect stem with basal leaves.
Species:

Ophrys apifera Europe, Medit. to Caucasus.
Ophrys atlantica Munby S. Spain, NW. Africa.
Ophrys × battandieri E.G.Camus W. Medit.
Ophrys bombyliflora Link Canary Is., Medit.
Ophrys × bourlieri Maire N. Africa.
Ophrys carpitana M.R.Lowe, Gügel & Kreutz Tunisia.
Ophrys fuciflora (F.W.Schmidt) Moench W. Europe to N. Iraq.
Ophrys fuciflora subsp. fuciflora W. & C. Europe to Medit.
Ophrys fusca Medit.
Ophrys fusca subsp. fusca Medit.
Ophrys fusca subsp. iricolor (Desf.) K.Richt. Medit.
Ophrys fusca subsp. pallida (Raf.) E.G.Camus Europe
Ophrys × joannae Maire W. Medit.
Ophrys × lievreae Maire W. Medit.
Ophrys lutea Cav. Medit.
Ophrys lutea subsp. galilaea (H.Fleischm. & Bornm.) Soó, Medit.
Ophrys lutea subsp. lutea W. & C. Medit. to SW. Turkey.
Ophrys omegaifera H.Fleischm. Medit.
Ophrys omegaifera subsp. dyris (Maire) Del Prete S. Iberian Pen., Baleares, Morocco.
Ophrys omegaifera subsp. hayekii (H.Fleischm. & Soó) Kreutz Sicilia, Tunisia.
Ophrys × peltieri Maire W. Medit.
Ophrys scolopax Cav.Hungary, Medit. to Caucasus.
Ophrys scolopax subsp. apiformis (Desf.) Maire & Weiller W W. Medit. to Sicilia.
Ophrys scolopax subsp. scolopa. Medit. to Caucasus.
Ophrys × sommieri E.G.Camus ex Cortesi Medit.
Ophrys speculum Link Medit.
Ophrys speculum subsp. speculum Medit.
Ophrys tenthredinifera Willd. Medit.

World Checklist of Monocotyledons. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/monocots/ accessed1/20/2010
Bibliography and References:
Davies, P., Davies, J. & Huxley, A. 1983. Wild orchids of Britain and Europe. Hogarth Press, London.
Delforge P. 2004 Le type d' Ophrys lucentina. (The type of Ophrys lucentina.) Nat. Belg. 85. 77-88 Fr (En)
Delforge P. 2004 Un Ophrys lacedemonien. (A Lacedemonian Ophrys.) Nat. Belg. 85. 235-244 Fr (En)
Delforge, P. 1994. Guide des Orchidees d'Europe, d' L'Afrique du Nord et du Proche-Orient. Delachaux et Niestle, S.A., Lausanne.
Delforge, P. 2006. Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Ed. 3. A. & C. Black, London.
Lewis L. 2006 A new form of Ophrys insectifera L. J. Eur. Orchideen 38. 187-194 En (Ge)
Pedersen HA, Faurholdt N. 2007 Ophrys: the bee orchids of Europe. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 297p.