SPECIES DESCRIPTION
OPHRYS OMEGAIFERA ssp. FLEISCHMANNII

Family:- ORCHIDACEAE

Common Names:- Velvet Ophrys-Fleischman.

Synonyms:- Ophrys Fleischmannii

Meaning:- Ophrys (L) Eye-brow, a name used by the Roman naturalist and
philosopher Pliny.
                 Fleischmannii (L) For the Viennese school director.

General description:- Small plants, delicate, often only around 10-20 cm high

Leaves:- Oval-shaped.

Flowers:- Inflorescence is sparse with 3-5 (-7) flowers. The bracts are bigger than
he ovary. The sepals are green; the lateral sepals converge slightly, and the mid-
sepal, bends over the column. The petals are green and wavy, with purple edging,
The lip measures 13-15 mm. with no split in its base. It is tri-lobed, and very hairy,
upright in position and has a bend in it like a kneejoint. The lateral lobes are
concave and very noticeable. The mid-lobe has a slight notch, and is dark reddish-
violet in colour. The blazon is very shiny, brown or dark blue in colour, with brown
high-lights, and is bordered at the top with a shiny design like a Greek omega - Ill,
in white, blue or Grey.

Fruit:-

Key features:-
1) Differentiated through the weak fold at the base of the lip, the small flowers and
the longer whitish hairs which also cover the area of the blazon.

Habitat:- Dry open shrubby vegetation, olive groves and fallow terraces. 0-1100 m.

Distribution:- Endemic Crete and perhaps some of the Kiklades. Somewhat
sparsely scattered across Crete. Not common.

Flowering time:- Jan to early June, peaking, Mar-April.

Photos by:- Fotis Samaritakis             

                         FAMILY AND GENUS DESCRIPTIONS

ORCHIDACEAE

General description:- Perennial herbs with rhizomes, vertical stock or tuberous
roots, terrestrial, sometimes obtaining nutrition from decaying matter (saprophytic),
usually with symbiotic fungi in or on the roots (mycorrhiza).

Stems:- Sometimes swollen at base to form pseudobulbs.

Leaves:- Entire, spirally arranged or in two opposite rows, one on each side of the
stem (distichous), rarely subopposite, reduced to scales or sheaths in saprophytes.

Flowers:- Inflorescence a spike or raceme. Flowers zygomorphic, the sepals,
petals and stamens apparently inserted higher than the ovary (epigynous), usually
hermaphrodite. Perianth-segments 6, in 2 whorls; median inner segment (labellum)
usually larger and of different shape from the others, usually directed downwards
owing to the ovary or the stem (pedicel) twisting through 180, often with basal spur.
Anthers and stigma borne on a column formed from fused filaments and style;
stamens 1, rarely 2, with stalkless (sessile) or short-stalked (subsessile), 2-celled
(2-locular) anthers behind or at the summit of the column; pollen-grains single or in
tetrads, bound by elastic threads in packets (pollinia) which may be narrowed into a
sterile, stalk-like caudicle. Ovary inferior, 1-locular, with parietal placentation, rarely
3-locular; stigmas 3, all fertile, or with the median sterile and often consisting of a
beak-like process (rostellum) between the anthers and fertile stigmas; rostellum
often forming 1 or 2 viscid bodies (viscidia) to which the pollinia are attached;
viscidia sometimes enclosed in 1(2), simple or 2-lobed, membranous, pocket-like
outgrowths (bursicles) of the rostellum.

Fruit:- A capsule, splitting open to release the seeds (dehiscing) by 3 or 6
longitudinal slits; seeds numerous, minute, with undifferentiated embryo and no
endosperm.

OPHRYS

General description:- Tubers 2(-3), globose or ovoid, entire.

Leaves:- Usually in a basal rosette, sometimes also present on stem.

Flowers:- Perianth-segments more or less spreading (patent), unequal; outer
oblong or ovate, obtuse; inner lateral smaller, often hairy.The lowest petal (labellum)
entire to 3-lobed, often convex and pouch-like (gibbous), sometimes with an apical
appendage which is often deflexed, hairless (glabrous) or velvety (velutinous),
variably marked, with usually glabrous central area (speculum); spur absent.
Rostellum minute. Viscidia in 2 simple bursicles.

Key features:-
1) Labellum neither inflated nor slipper-shaped; with distinctively coloured and
shaped central area (speculum).

Many species of Ophrys can cross to produce hybrids, which are often fertile.