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Ophrys insectifera subsp. aymoninii - Aymonin's Fly Orchid

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Orchidales - Family: Orchidaceae

Ophrys insectifera subsp aymoninii

Above - a robust plant photographed in mid-May near to La Pezade, southern France

This subspecies of the Fly Orchid is only found on the southern causse around Aveyron, where it was first recorded and named in honour of the French botanist G. G. Aymonin.

Flower of a Aymonin's Fly Orchid

The specimen shown above was photographed in late May on the southern causse near La Pezade, in France.

Description

Ophrys insectifera subspecies aymoninii can easily be distinguished from the Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera by the bright yellow 'border' on the tip of the flower lip and, which is also sometimes present on the side lobes. As with Ophrys insectifera, the flowers closely resemble little flies. The lip forms the body of the insect, the mirror is shiny like the folded wings of a fl,y and there are even two glossy depressions at the base of the lip that represent the insect's eyes.

Ophrys insectifera subsp. aymonii, southern France

Aymonin's Fly Orchid plants can grow quite tall - up to 60cm is not uncommon. The plant is spindly and has a lax inforescence that carries up to 15 flowers. This orchid can form colonies of up to 10 plants, but despite this they remain difficult to find because the drab colouring blends in so well with the surrounding grass and other plants. Single specimens can also be found.

Distribution

Aymonin's Fly Orchid is limited to a small area of the most southerly part of the Massif Central in France.

Habitat

Ophrys insectifera subsp. aymoninii grows in dry, often rocky calcareous soils where the grass is short. It tolerates sunny positions but can also be found hugging bushes or shrubs.

Flowering times

From late April through to the beginning of June.

Varieties

There are no recorded varieties:

Hybrids

None recorded.

Etymology

The genus name Ophrys comes from Greek and means 'eyebrow' - a reference to the hairy fringe of the lip of the flower of many orchids in this genus. The specific epithet insectifera comes from Latin and means 'bearing insects' - a reference to the insect-like appearance of the flowers. Aymoninii refers to the French Botanist Gérard G. Aymonin (1934 - 2014).

Reference sources

The Plant List

Henrik AErenlund Pedersen & Niels Faurholdt (2007) Ophrys - The Bee Orchids of Europe; Kew

Rolf Kuhn, Henrik AE. Pederson & Phillip Cribb - Field Guide to the Orchids of Europe and the Mediterranean

Anne and Simon Harrap (2005) Orchids of Britain and Ireland; A&C Black

Pierre Delforge (2005) Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; A&C Black

Den Nordiska Floran (1992) Bo Mossberg, Stefan Ericsson and Lennart Stenberg; Wahlstrom & Widstrand


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