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.


  1. Μπράβο Γιώργο εξαιρετική!

  2. Τελικά καρντάση διακαιώνεσαι. οι Παουλους και Χιρθ στον καινουργιο JEO, επιβεβαιωνουν οτι τα πρωιμα μεγαλα φυτα της ρόδου είναι καθαρές O.tenthredinifera όπως και στην υπόλοιπη Ευρωπη. καμια καινουρια αναρτηση θα δουμε?