This is one of the Mediterranean's most widespread Ophrys, occurring throughout the region but in varying degrees of abundance. It's considered an extreme rarity in France and northern Italy, being at its most common in the southern parts of its range in Greece, Spain, Portugal, North Africa and Sicily where, although sporadic, can occur in huge colonies. O. speculum is a small but distinctive orchid that cannot readily be confused with any other Ophrys apart from its rarer close relatives O. regis-fernandii and O. vernixia with which there are some limited overlaps in range. As already mentioned this is a small orchid and despite its distinctive flower, can be very easily overlooked in the field. It can grow to a height of 25cms but is more usually no greater than 10cms, with a spike of perhaps 3 flowers. The flowers are relatively large and not hugely variable, although in the east of its range there is a darker variant named orientalis and variety klosii from Greece which has a blue and white mirror. It can be found in varying types of habitat from open grassland to garigue and light woodland though always on alkaline substrates. Although not a rare orchid, its a gem and its discovery never fails to brighten a day in the Med ! Excellent species for the alpine house.
Like all the Mediterranean ophrys it should be grown in an alpine house or under some form of protection so that watering can be controlled throughout the winter. The tuber can be grown in a relatively small pot as the tuber is not large and the roots do not spread far. If grown in a terracotta pot it should be plunged into sand and the sand kept damp thoughout the growing season. This ophrys will flower in the late winter.
Plants are normally sent out potted to customers in the UK. They can normally be sent during the period AUGUST to NOVEMBER after which time growth is such that the rosette may get damaged. Please inform me of any problems with the tubers within 14 days of receipt.
TUBERS AVAILABLE FROM JULY 2018