Ophrys omegaifera subsp. dyris - Omega Ophrys

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

Ophrys dyris

This orchid is often simply referred to as Ophrys dyris and it is reminiscent of a host of other similar-looking but highly variable ophrys species found throughout the Mediterranean region.


Although superficially similar to Ophrys fusca, this orchid has several features which clearly set it apart. It grows up to 50cm in height (generally taller than Ophrys fusca) and the flowers are noticeably convex and coated with a thick layer of white hairs. The shape of the flower is often described as resembling a boxing glove. The lip displays the Greek omega, a W-shaped speculum which gives it the common English name of Omega Ophrys. Each lax inflorescence can carry up to 10 flowers.

Group of Ophrys omegaifera subsp. dyris


Ophrys dyris is found throughout the Iberian Peninsula and in northern Africa. It is rare and localised throughout its range.


This orchid grows in stony ground on alkaline substrates. In the Algarve it can be found along the edges of tracks through abandoned farmland an in the barrocal in both open and partially shaded positions.

Flowers f Omega Ophrys subsp. dyris

Flowering times

Ophrys dyris flowers early - from February through to April.

The specimens on this page were photographed in the Algarve in Portugal in February (top) and mid April.


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 dyris is an ancient name for the Atlas Mountains of Morocco from where this orchid was first described.

Reference sources

The Plant List

Sue Parker (2023) Wild Orchids of the Algarve - where, when and how to find them; First Nature e-book (Amazon Kindle format)

Chris Thorogood and Simon Hiscock (2014) Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Algarve; Kew Publishing

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

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

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