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Common Names:-

Synonyms:- None

Meaning:- Ophrys (L) Eye-brow, a name used by the Roman naturalist and
philosopher Pliny.
                  Tenthredinifera (L) Insect-bearing, harbouring sawflies.
                  Leochroma (L) Reference to its hairy lip, thought to resemble a lions

Distribution:- Unknown

Flowering time:- Jan-Apr.

Photos by:- Fotis Samaritakis

                         FAMILY AND GENUS DESCRIPTIONS


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

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. 


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

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