Friday, March 2, 2012

Variability of Ophrys lucis

Ophrys lucis is one of the most interesting orchids of Rhodes. For orchid lovers who wish to see this species in the field, Rhodes is the ideal place. Here one can see all possible variables of the species fairly easily from mid February to mid March in a variety of habitats. It is a rather rare species forming small populations mostly in the central parts of the island.
Today I present some photographs in order to show the variability of the species.


A typical Ophrys lucis. Loutanis valley 21-02-2012


Pink petals and sepals. Attaviros 24-03-2011


Very convexed lip. Kallithies 21-02-2012


Without side lobes. Loutanis valley 25-02-2012

Greenish petals and sepals. Colymbia 25-02-2012

I hope you enjoyed it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ophrys sitiaca. The first Orchid of the season!

Ophrys sitiaca. Filerimos hill

It is like a rendezvous! Every new year, in the first ten days of January, I use to visit the nearby pine woods of Filerimos hill. There, under the shade of pine trees, Ophrys sitiaca is always the first orchid that begins to flower.
Happy New Orchid Year to all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The status of Oprhrys tethredinifera s.str. in Rhodes

Ophrys tethredinifera, Filerimos 21-02-2008

For long time there was confusion about an early flowering Rhodian taxon of O. tethredinifera group. This taxon flowers from the end of January till the beginning of March, when two other species of the same group (O. leochroma & O. villosa) start to flower.
Similar early flowering plants have been confirmed from other East Aegean islands and SW Turkey.
Some experts suggested that the early flowering plants from Rhodes belong to O. dictynnae but there were never enough evidence to prove it.
Prof. Hannes Paulus recently found out that similar early flowering plants from the island of Cos have the same pollinator (Eucera nigrilabris ssp. rufitarsis) with the W. Mediterranean typical O. tethredinifera.
So far, the discovery of Prof. H. Paulus is the most convincing evidence that the early flowering plants from Rhodes (like those from Cos) belong to the typical O. tethredinifera s.str.
But how the big gap between eastern and western plants can be explained?
Three Greek researchers (P. Saliaris, A. Saliaris and A. Alibertis) tried to answer to this question publishing a paper proposing a new subspecies from the island of Chios. They named the new taxa Ophrys tethredinifera subsp. sancta marcellae.
In their paper they mention that there are "rumors" about similar plants from Rhodes. Indeed, the plants from Rhodes (and Cos) that I have seen are similar and they flower at the same time.
But in my opinion their paper is too weak. They don't give a convincing differential diagnosis in order to separate it from the typical species O. tethredinifera and it seems that they "rest" on the sole fact of the long geographical gap between the two so called different taxa.
Until new, more convincing evidence appear from more researchers, I believe that the early flowering plants from Rhodes belong to the typical Ophrys tethredinifera.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ophrys parvula and Ophrys cinereophila, the two small pseudophrys of Rhodes

Left: Ophrys parvula, Kattavia 6-04-2011. Right: Ophrys cinereophila, Attaviros 10-04-2011


They both have a small lip (less than 1cm) with a yellow border around it. How can a non expert identify them? Identification of those two species is not easy but not impossible either.

One must pay attention mostly to the bending of the lip. The lip of Oprhys parvula is almost straight across the longitudinal axis, starting to bend (if at all) just after the 2/3rds of its length whereas the lip of Ophrys cinereophila is bending downwards right from the start, at the basal area.

In general, Ophrys parvula is a sorter plant with fewer flowers than Ophrys cinereophila and usually it is found among phrygana, whereas Ophrys cinereophila can be found in a greater variety of habitats like woods, dry meadows and phrygana.

Of course those two species, as the majority of orchids of the genus ophrys, have a different pollinator. Andrena tomora for O. parvula and Andrena cinereophila for O. cinereophila.

Ophrys parvula was considered endemic to the southern part of Rhodes island but recently Zissis Antonopoulos found similar plants in central Cos and Giannis Gavalas in Iraklia (Small Cyclades). It seems that this species is endemic to Southern Aegean islands.

Ophrys cinereophila is distributed from SW Greece to Dodecanese, Cyclades, Crete, S Anatolia and Lebanon.

Ophrys eptapigiensis, the phantom orchid

Ophrys eptapigiensis 14-04-2007, Apollona - Laerma road.


Back in 2001 Prof. Paulus described Ophrys eptapigiensis, as a new pseudophrys species of orchid from Rhodes. He named the new orchid “eptapigiensis” because he spotted it for first time at the area of Epta Piges, in the shady pine woods of Loutanis river valley.

Prof. Paulus himself found only a few plants in a very small area. Since then, many experts have visited Rhodes and according to my knowledge, no one was able to spot more than a few plants. Some orchidophiles who visited the island have reported erroneously that they have spotted some biotopes with populations of 10 or 20 plants but I have visited nearly all reported areas and I wasn’t able to spot these populations. In fact, I’m still not 100% sure if I have ever seen a single typical plant of that species. These facts indicate that Ophrys eptapigiensis is a very rare species, the rarest of all Rhodian orchids.

According to Prof. Paulus paper, Ophrys eptapigiensis is very similar to Ophrys attaviria which (the latter) flowers a little bit later, has bigger flowers and its lip has a lighter color. Additionally O. eptapigiensis has brown petals, and sometimes, a transverse brown ribbon inside the stigmatic cavity.

Yet, many experts doubt about the existence of the new species based on the fact that Prof. Paulus hasn’t discovered yet the pollinator of O. eptapigiensis, as he usually does with the other new species that he has described.

The rarity of the plant, the similarity with O. attaviria and the lack of knowledge about its pollinator, makes O. eptapigiensis somehow a phantom orchid.

Here I present a photograph which I believe represents a (sort of) typical O. eptapigiensis. It was among typical O. attaviria plants which means that it could be just a form of O. attaviria. Anyway, plants with such typical characteristics are extremely rare and I feel lucky having it in my collection. Enjoy it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

List of the orchids of Rhodes


Ophrys oreas, 27-03-2011 Profitis Ilias at 550m


The first post of this blog couldn't be other than the list of orchids of Rhodes. I have used a taxonomy which is up to date and in accordance to the newest literature but I have done some additions and modifications in order to adapt the list to my own observations in the field. Totally in the list there are 76 taxa which they are distributed in 10 genera as follows:

Ophrys 46
Serapias 4
Himantoglossum 2
Anacamptis 8
Orchis 7
Neotinea 2
Dactylorhiza 1
Spiranthes 1
Limodorum 2
Cephalanthera 2

The 76 taxa are as follows:

1.Ophrys iricolor
2.Ophrys cinereophila
3.Ophrys leucadica
4.Ophrys parvula
5.Ophrys attaviria
6.Ophrys eptapigiensis
7.Ophrys lindia
8.Ophrys blitopertha
9.Ophrys persephone
10.Ophrys phryganae
11.Ophrys sicula
12.Ophrys basilissa?
13.Ophrys omegaifera
14.Ophrys apollonae
15.Ophrys sitiaca
16.Ophrys regis-ferdinandii
17.Ophrys speculum
18.Ophrys tethrentinifera
19.Ophrys leochroma
20.Ophrys villosa
21.Ophrys bombyliflora
22.Ophrys apifera
23.Ophrys candica
24.Ophrys candica var. minoa
25.Ophrys colossaea
26.Ophrys halia
27.Ophrys heterochila?
28.Ophrys oreas
29.Ophrys saliarisii
30.Ophrys cornutula
31.Ophrys dodekanensis
32.Ophrys oestrifera?
33.Ophrys calypsus
34.Ophrys calypsus var pseudoapulica
35.Ophrys calypsus var scolopaxoides
36.Ophrys heldreichii
37.Ophrys polyxo
38.Ophrys rhodia
39.Ophrys umbilicata
40.Ophrys cretica ssp. beloniae
41.Ophrys reinholdii
42.Ophrys lucis
43.Ophrys ferrum-equinum
44.Ophrys ferrum-equinum ssp. gottfriediana?
45.Ophrys mammosa
46.Ophrys transhyrcana??
47.Ophrys aesculapii (doubtful)
48.Serapias bergonii
49.Serapias carica
50.Serapias parviflora
51.Serapias politisii
52.Himantoglossum comperianum (extinct)
53.Himantoglossum robertianum
54.Anacamptis collina
55.Anacamptis laxiflora
56.Anacamptis morio ssp. picta
57.Anacamptis papilionacea ssp. heroica
58.Anacamptis papilionacea ssp. thaliae
59.Anacamptis pyramidalis
60.Anacamptis sancta
61.Anacamptis fragrans
62.Orchis anatolica
63.Orchis pinetorum (doubtful)
64.Orchis anthropophora
65.Orchis italica
66.Orchis provincialis
67.Orchis punctulata (extinct)
68.Orchis simia
69.Neotinea intacta
70.Neotinea lactea
71.Dactylorhiza romana (extinct)
72.Spiranthes spiralis
73.Limodorum abortivum
74.Limodorum abortivum var. rubrum
75.Cephalanthera epipactoides (extinct?)
76.Cephalanthera longifolia

?= the presence of the species is under question but there are some evidences for its presence

Ophrys transhyrcana??= an Oriental species, maybe the plants of Rhodes are just a variety of O. mammosa

doubtful= the presence of the species is doubtful and there are some evidences that the report from Rhodes was erroneous

extinct= the species is extinct from Rhodes but there are possibilities to reappear

Cephalanthera epipactoides (extinct?)= the single plant of this species that I have seen on the island has been extinct but there are some reports for the presence of the species.