Friday, March 2, 2012
Today I present some photographs in order to show the variability of the species.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
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
Similar early flowering plants have been confirmed from other East Aegean islands and SW Turkey.
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
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.
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
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:
The 76 taxa are as follows:
24.Ophrys candica var. minoa
34.Ophrys calypsus var pseudoapulica
35.Ophrys calypsus var scolopaxoides
40.Ophrys cretica ssp. beloniae
44.Ophrys ferrum-equinum ssp. gottfriediana?
47.Ophrys aesculapii (doubtful)
52.Himantoglossum comperianum (extinct)
56.Anacamptis morio ssp. picta
57.Anacamptis papilionacea ssp. heroica
58.Anacamptis papilionacea ssp. thaliae
63.Orchis pinetorum (doubtful)
67.Orchis punctulata (extinct)
71.Dactylorhiza romana (extinct)
74.Limodorum abortivum var. rubrum
75.Cephalanthera epipactoides (extinct?)
?= 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.