18. Ophrys leucadica orientalis: ‘No Money, No Honey’.

Habitats: Plakés, Aspros Glaros, Alifantá, Anemomilos.

Early Ophrys at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #050

Early Ophrys at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #050

Ophrys leucadica (Renz 1928) H. Kretzschmar 2002, or:
Ophrys fusca (Link 1800) ssp. leucadica (Renz 1928) H. Kretzschmar 2002.
The Pseudophrys complex; the fusca group.

REMARKS: As a follow-up to my blog 17: ‘Ophrys fusca: that was only yesterday’, about the earliest of the Orchids on Lesvos, Ophrys sancti-isidorii Saliaris & Alibertis, I immediately went out hunting again to see if my theory is correct: that the first Ophrys from the Pseudophrys complex which are flowering on Lesvos is now Ophrys sancti-isidorii, followed by Ophrys sitiaca and the oriental version of Ophrys leucadica. And I also had to check if the Ophrys at Plakés (in the middle lobe of the island, between Vatera and Nifida) were already flowering and, if so, if they also had a red instead of a yellow edge on the lip.

HUNTING: But driving to this Plakés habitat so early this year was not easy because the dirt roads and tracks were so filled with mud and water, that even in a four-wheel drive it was too dangerous to drive to the spot (and not able to reach it, I had to go backwards all the way back up a steep hill with a stinking clutch), so we walked. For the first minute or so you don’t see the orchids, your eyes have to focus on them, like on mushrooms and wild asparagus, but after we climbed up to the higher olive grove suddenly the Ophrys were there, all around us, tens of them, we counted more than 60 plants on this spot. At this time of year there were no other flowers or orchids around on this isolated habitat, only the small brown Ophrys of the fusca-complex!

Ophrys sancti-isidorii at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #057, #074, #070

Ophrys sancti-isidorii at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013, #057, #074, #070.
Height: 34cm, Lip length: 14mm.

And it was not only just-opening plants, the Ophrys above (#057, #074, #070) which is in my opinion Ophrys sancti-isidorii, was 34 centimeters high and had 5 flowers (Saliaris mentioned a height of 7-17cm and between 1-4 flowers); they don’t grow so high in just one week so they had to have been there already for 2 weeks, so from the end of January. This big Ophrys had a yellow border on his lip, but looking around us we saw also a lot of Ophrys with a red border, for instance the Ophrys below. But this one was certainly not an Ophrys sancti-isidorii! To me this looks like the Ophrys leucadica (which according to some experts does not exist in the eastern Mediterranean)… And observe this beautiful speculum! I saw this speculum also this year on the Alifantá and Anemomilos Ophrys leucadica orientalis.

Ophrys leucadica at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #030, #034, #040

Ophrys leucadica at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013,  #030, #034, #040: Height: 18cm, Lip length 13.6mm.

Looking around I saw between those 60 or so plants, apart from Ophrys sancti-isidorii, 4 different looking maybe hybrid species but no Ophrys sitiaca! After taking a lot of photographs and measurements  I went down to the track where my companions were waiting impatiently because there, in the channel next to the road and even on the road there were again tens of Ophrys flowering, which I (we) hadn’t noticed earlier… and if you compare this Ophrys with the ones from the same habitat last year and from the sitiaca from recent years in Alifantá you can’t ignore it: this is not Ophrys leucadica nor sancti-isidorii, those were for sure Ophrys sitiaca!

Ophrys sitiaca at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #101, #102 & #108

Ophrys sitiaca at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013,  #0102 & #101. Height: 8cm, Lip length: 16mm.

RESEARCH: The research on Ophrys sancti-isidorii (Blog 17) is almost the same as on Ophrys leucadica orientalis because until last year they were considered to be the same taxon. Ophrys sitiaca I researched already last year (see blog 2: ‘Boxing lessons’). And if the Ophrys leucadica here in the east of the Mediterranean are molecularly so different to the taxa in the west-Mediterranean, they still really look and are described alike. So to ‘delete’ O. leucadica in favor of O. sancti-isidorii, O. sitiaca or even O. pelinaea is in my opinion unfounded.  O. leucadica is a more ‘potent’ plant; the lip is just a little bit bigger than O. sancti-isidorii and more rounded, rhomboidal at the base. And Ophrys pelinaea flowers later, from the beginning of April (on Lesvos).

Ophrys leucadica at Alifantá, © JvL 22-03-2011 #097

Ophrys leucadica at Alifantá, © JvL 22-03-2011 #097

BAUMANN ET AL. (2006) Ophrys fusca ssp. leucadica: ‘Lip somewhat curved, brown, often yellow edged. Swellings at the base of the lip raised, side borders extended; east-Mediterranean. Synonyms: O.creberrima, Crete; O.cressa, Crete; O.eptapigiensis, Rhodes; O.leucadica, W-Greece; O. lindia, Rhodes, O.punctulata, W-Greece.’
So in their opinion Ophrys leucadica is west-, Ophrys fusca ssp. leucadica east-Mediterranean. Well…
But let’s stay today with the latest ‘Greek’ Orchid literature, ‘Orchids of Greece’ by PETROU ET AL. (2011) Ophrys fusca ssp. leucadica: ‘A taxon distributed from Dalmatia to Turkey; it occurs in the central and southern mainland, and the Ionian and Aegean islands.’  And their description of the lip: ‘slightly constricted at the base, nodding to pendant, rhomboidal, velvety, trilobed, reddish brown, with narrow yellow border.’ And about the speculum: ‘metallic blue, often with darker or white spots, its edge forming a broad, shinier or white ω; it often reaches the sinuses of the lateral lobes, and is bisected by a deep brown groove.’  This deep brown groove on the speculum I see only sporadically on the Lesvos Ophrys leucadica.
ANTONOPOULOS (2009) about Ophrys leucadica: ‘With a wide distribution, this is the earliest-flowering Ophrys of the fusca group, blooming before the other members in March in the Ionian Islands, southern Greece and the Aegean basin. It has a medium-sized lip, usually dropping and forming an angle of 45° with the stem, and has two semi-circular white areas at the lower edge of the speculum.’ And: ‘Ophrys leucadica is considered as an ancestral species, forming many local variations all over Greece.’
And yes, KARATZÁ (2007) also described Ophrys leucadica in his book. He saw them apparently around Pigí (on the Gulf of Gera), Thermí, Mória, Alifantá (yes!), Megalochóri and around Mésouna above Plomári (yes!), flowering from the beginning/middle of March until the middle of April.

Ophrys leucadica at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #010

Ophrys leucadica at Plakés, © JvL 16-02-2013 #010

So when I go through all my Orchid literature I’ve noticed that most Greeks, Germans and Dutch stayed with the name Ophrys (fusca ssp.) leucadica. Only the Belgians, French and some English ‘deleted’ Ophrys leucadica in favor of a new species and a new name.
And that again corresponds with a new book that I got this week, ‘Ophrys d’ Italia’ by ROMOLINI, SOUCHE & DOTTI (2012).The authors never mention one of the (east-Mediterranean) known Pseudophrys species in their book; they have completely different names for all of the species in the Italian fusca group except for Ophrys calocaerina Devillers-Terschuren & Devillers, which also flowers on Lesvos. Not made up by them (well Ophrys romolinii was made up by SOCA: ‘en homage au naturaliste Italien contemporain Rolando Romolini…ouch!), but a lot by Devillers-Terschuren & Devillers and Delforge. So if the Spanish orchidologists also make up their ‘own’ fusca-names the Tower of Babylon will be complete!
And my eyes felt unintentionally on this paragraph: ‘La plupart des nouvelles descriptions apparues depuis dix ans ont été réalisées par des amateurs non botaniste, avec parfois un manque de connaissance des plantes dans leur ensemble, de la bibliographie et tout simplement du Code de Botanique qui laissant perplexe. Il en résulte un nombre de synonymes assez consequent.’
In translation: ‘Most of the new descriptions that have appeared in the last ten years have been produced by non-botanist amateurs, with sometimes such a lack of knowledge of the plants’ families, of the bibliography, and of the basic Botanic Code, that it leaves one perplexed. The result is a significant number of synonyms.’
Again ouch, shame on you Romolini & Souche, almost all new Orchid descriptions and new fantasy names come from ‘professional’ botanists like Devillers-Terschuren & Devillers and Delforge, because (and then I have to guess) they want their name in Orchid history…
Nevertheless: a stunning book with beautiful drawings and lots of very interesting and historical background information on Italian orchids. (Only in French and Italian)

Ophrys leucadica at Anemomilos, © JvL 21-02-2013 #303

Ophrys leucadica at Anemomilos, © JvL 21-02-2013 #303

BOTTOM-LINE: For a final February hunt I went out on the 21st of February to check out the habitat where I found Pseudophrys (and Neotinea maculata) last year: the Aspros Glaros, the ‘White Gulls’ between Kalloni and Lambou Mili. And I also went again to Lambou Mili, Alifantá and Anemomilos to see what was new or what was changed in the last week.
In Aspros Glaros I found (as well as tens of beautiful white Crocuses, the first – not orchid – flowering plants except Anemones and Dandelions) again a group of already flowering Pseudophrys, 11 taxa, but only one of them could I identify as Ophrys sancti-isidorii (with a yellow edge on the lip). The others I still have to study carefully, they are maybe hybrids between Ophrys sancti-isidorii, sitiaca, leucadica orientalis and lindia.
On the parking spot near Lambou Mili nothing had changed, the 3 flowering Ophrys were still flowering, the 6 not yet flowering Ophrys were still not flowering.
And above Alifantá O. sancti-isidorii was also still flourishing, but also some newcomers were trying to get their flowers out: Ophrys leucadica orientalis!
At Anemomilos the group of O. sancti-isidorii was still there, but also some new ones had came up almost on the track, and there was this big newcomer: Ophrys leucadica, orientalis of course.

As ‘dessert’ one of the pictures I made – two weeks ago – of the already flowering Himantoglossum robertianum (ex Barlia robertiana – see Blog 5: ‘The big and the beautiful’ and Blog 7: ‘Lost in Wonderland’) in the ‘down under’ Eftalou olive grove. But will it last for another two months as it did last year? Because the lower flowers of this Robert’s Giant Orchis are already eaten… And I noticed that also a lot of Pseudophrys were already half eaten. Is there not enough food around for the insects, reptiles and the tortoises that they have to eat the orchids? Is the Greek human crisis also expanding to the ‘animal’ society? No money, no honey?

Himantoglossum robertianum in Eftalou, © JvL 13-02-2013 #010

Himantoglossum robertianum, Eftalou, © JvL 13-02-2013 #010

Jan van Lent, Eftalou 20-2-2013.

Marcy Playground: ‘No money no honey’.


17. Ophrys fusca: ‘That Was Only Yesterday’.

Habitats: Alifantá, Anemomílos, Lambou Míli, Plakés, Mixou.

Ophrys sancti-isidorii Alifantá, ©Jan van Lent 30-01-13 #016

Ophrys sancti-isidorii or Ophrys leucadica? Alifantá, © JvL 30-01-13 #016

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii A. & P. Saliaris & Albertis 2010, or
Ophrys (fusca ssp.) leucadica Renz 1928.
The Fusca group, on Lesvos also: Ophrys calocaerina, Ophrys cinereophila.

HUNTING: On one of the last days of last month, the 30th of January, I decided to have a look at my Ophrys habitats in the south-east of Lesvos to see if there were already any Ophrys around this early in the season. I went there because SALIARIS & ALIBERTIS (Chios 2010) and TAYLOR (Chios 2012) described a very early Ophrys from Chios flowering between January and early April: Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii. And because Chios is our neighbouring island (you can see it on clear days from the south of Lesvos) I thought that it could be a good idea to go out hunting here this early in the Orchid-season. Because until now the first Ophrys from the (Pseudophrys) Fusca, Attaviria, Blitopertha and Omegaifera groups (groups by ANTONOPOULOS 2009) I found was on the 18th of February above Alifantá: Ophrys (omegaifera ssp.) sitiaca (see Blog 2: ‘Boxing lessons’.)
Here in Eftalou we have the first flowering Ophrys from the Lutea group, Ophrys sicula, every year between the 11th of February and the 1st of March depending on weather conditions; see Blog 1: ‘The first Orchid of 2012 is…’
And yes, after a long search above Alifantá I discovered one (1) flowering ex-fusca, ex-leucadica and probably now this newly named Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii. On my photograph #016 you can’t see it clearly but unfortunately it is already half eaten. And if you compare it with the one I took on the same spot on the 18th of February 2011 they are almost alike. Last year I visited this habitat on the 3rd of March but I thought that Ophrys (omegaifera ssp.) sitiaca had already taken over and I ignored the ‘different’ looking species…

Ophrys sancti-isidorii, Alifantá ©Jan van Lent 18-2-11 #067

18-2-11 Alifantá, #067 Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii?

So I went to another habitat where a lot of Ophrys are growing, alongside the Gulf of Gera above Koudouroudia: Anemomilos. And, after half an hour or so hunting , I shot 2 small brown Ophrys from the Fusca/Attaviria groups. And do we notice that all these Ophrys have an orange border to the lip and not a yellow one? That is something I spotted already last year on a lot of Pseudophrys on Lesvos. The Alifantá Ophrys and one of the Anemomilos Ophrys (#041) I can, without having scruples against Ophrys leucadica, place under this new name Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii.

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #041

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #041

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #057

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #057

But the second Anemomilos Ophrys (#045), standing 1 meter away from the former, is in my opinion definitely not a sancti-isidorii, but an Ophrys (fusca ssp.) lindia. Ophrys (fusca ssp.) lindia, so early? Yes, I spotted them already in the beginning of March in 2011 and 2012 but in January… Maybe 2013 will turn out to be an extreme early year for orchids!

Ophrys sancti-isidorii or Ophrys lindia? Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #45

Ophrys sancti-isidorii or Ophrys lindia? Anemomilos, © JvL 30-01-13 #45

RESEARCH: There is not much to research on Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, at least not on the internet. The only interesting article I found on the internet about O. (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii was Michael R. LOWE’s essay: ‘Studies in Ophrys L. section Pseudophrys Godfrey – II Andrena flavipes pollinated taxa’ from 2011. This is a very interesting and painstakingly conscientiously essay about the Ophrys in Europe which are pollinated by the male bee Andrena flavipes. In (very) short he concluded that there are in the east of the Mediterranean (well east… his investigation is more west-Mediterranean aimed, the most east he investigated is Kefallonia – which is in the west of Greece, almost Italian… and Rhodes, which is in the extreme south-east of the Aegean) certainly two species are pollinated by Andrena flavipes; the already named (still) Ophrys leucadica and this new, very early subspecies: Ophrys fusca ssp. sancti-isidori A. & P. Saliaris & Albertis 2010.

3x sancti-isidori op4,

O. sancti-isidorii, Anemomilos, O. sancti-isidorii, Alifantá. O. sancti-isidorii? Anemomilos
© JvL 30-01-13 #057.               © JvL 3-03-11 #047          © JvL 3-03-12 #025

And the name Andrena flavipes I remembered from Burkhard BIEL’s essay ‘Die Orchideenflora der Insel Lesvos’ (published in the Journal Europäischer Orchideen in 1998), which covered 17 years (1981-1998) of Orchid research on Lesvos. In this essay he separated the O.fusca complex into 4 different species: O.blitopertha-fusca, O.cinereophila-fusca, O.flavipes-fusca and O.attaviria and the ones which couldn’t be identified as O.fusca s.l. But around 1998 it was resolved (by DELFORGE) that Ophrys fusca was the name of a west-Mediterranean Ophrys and that the look-a-like plants in the east of the Mediterranean should now be called Ophrys leucadica.

And also Ophrys flavipes doesn’t live here anymore, not because it vanished but because it was renamed in Ophrys bilunulata Risso by Delforge. And he stated that O. bilunulata was also a west-Mediterranean species…So what should we call the early east-Mediterranean Ophrys (fusca ssp.) flavipes-bilunulata today? Ophrys (fusca ssp.) fusca-orientalis? Ophrys (fusca ssp.) leucadica?

For SALIARIS and ALIBERTIS (2010) it is clear enough: Ophrys fusca ssp. sancti-isidorii. And I agree with them (except for the name: I’m not a fan of putting a Martyrs name on an orchid, before you know it a lot of Bible names, for instance Ophrys maria-magdalena or Ophrys blessed virgin appear, renamed by an extreme Christian orchidologist): those very early and very small Ophrys on Chios and, in my opinion, also on Lesvos (and maybe on Samos) are indeed different from Ophrys leucadica and pelinaea. Saliaris and Alibertis description of this early Ophrys matches the Ophrys I found on 30 January, except for the yellow edges around the lip, they are on Lesvos orange/light brown. And this difference (the colour on the edge of the lip) can give some Belgian orchidologists of course the opportunity to rename them as O. devilleriana-terschurii.

TAYLOR’S note on Ophrys sancti-isidorii is not very elaborate; he just widened its flowering period. But about Ophrys leucadica he wrote: ‘… the cause of much uncertainty to many of us from 2003 has now been subject to further detailed consideration. Some of the plants previously identified as this species have now been recognised as having been O. (fusca ssp.) pelinaea. However, some early flowering plants have now been recognised as having been O.fusca ssp. sancti-isidorii. Furthermore, some of the plants also previously identified as this species are now considered to have been Ophrys (omegaifera ssp.) sitiaca. This taxon (O.leucadica) has therefore now been deleted from the (Chios) checklist.’ Well, that is a pity for Chios but on Lesvos I won’t delete Ophrys (fusca ssp.) leucadica so easily.

But that was only yesterday because once again I checked the internet site of James Mast de Maeght (ophrys-genus.be) and to my surprise I read that already in 2007 PAULUS & SCHLÜTER demonstrated (by means of molecular research) that the eastern Aegean ‘O.leucadica’ clearly differs from the west-Mediterranean ‘real’ O.leucadica. So suddenly Ophrys leucadica is also a western species? And in the east-Aegean we have now Ophrys leucadica-orientalis? Because a few years ago it was still an eastern species, confirmed by DELFORGE (2005) himself. But yes, 2 years later (Chios 2007) Delforge also stated that O.leucadica is not anymore around in the eastern part of the Mediterranean but that it should now be named Ophrys pelinaea… Why? Did I miss something here? Is it because Delforge came across this Ophrys on mount Pelinaion on Chios and ‘suddenly there was a light from above and it was decided that O.pelinaea was the better name?’ He mentioned also that the flowering times of O.pelinaea are between mid April and mid-May. But Biel’s find list (and mine) showed that all Ophrys flavipes-fusca-leucadica species were flowering between the end of January (since last week) and the 18th of April.

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Lambou Mili, © JvL 6-02-13 #009

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Lambou Mili, © JvL 6-02-13 #009

BOTTOM-LINE: And the above Ophrys is my ‘catch’ from the 6th of February, the first flowering Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii from the parking place above Lambou Mili. And yes, if you compare this orchid with the species from 30 January (of course not the O. fusca ssp. lindia), you can see the similarity.
So again, what should one call this early Ophrys fusca species today? I called them (through lack of alternatives and as a working name) Ophrys proto-pelinaea. Now I can give them a real name: Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, thanks to Saliaris & Alibertis. Or should we wait until some orchidologist will declare that Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii is also a west-Mediterranean species and we will have on Lesvos Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-orientalis? And anyway, what was wrong with the name Ophrys (fusca ssp.) leucadica-orientalis?

Jan van Lent, Lesvos, 11-2-2013.

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Lambou Mili, © JvL 6-02-13 #006

Ophrys (fusca ssp.) sancti-isidorii, Lambou Mili, © JvL 6-02-13 #006

‘That Was Only Yesterday’: Spooky Tooth (1969):

P.S. I put between all the Ophrys species in this blog ‘fusca ssp.’ because of the taxonomy list in “Orchids of Greece” from PETROU, PETROU and GIANNAKOULIAS  (2011). I will not be a complete ‘follower’ of their taxonomy list (because for instance renaming Ophrys sicula Tineo 1846 into Ophrys lutea ssp. minor (Todaro) O. & E. Danesch, is in my opinion eh… strange. Almost all orchidologists nowadays used the name sicula for this small yellow Ophrys (even Delforge and Devillers et al. – actually they write Ophrys sicula s.l., so that ‘we’ know that they will change this name in the nearby future so that they can put their own name behind as authors) so why change it? In my opinion they should have renamed it as Ophrys lutea ssp. sicula. But their intentions are courageous…