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Ophrys spruneri

Ophrys spruneri
This species was first described by Nyman from Aegina island, Greece in 1855 and takes its name from a once famous 19th century German botanist, Herr W. von Spruner. O. spruneri is endemic to Greece with a distribution that extends from Macedonia down to Crete in the south and from the Ionian islands to Chios in the Aegean. O. spruneri is a somewhat variable species which can exhibit close similarities to both O. ferrum-equinum and O. mammosa both of which occur commonly over much of its range. As can be seen from the illustrations the flower may be distinctly 3 lobed or with the lip almost entire and basal swellings. The key identification feature is the blue speculum lining which unlike its close relatives, forms a comlete H around the stigmatic cavity. Occasionally the crossbar may be missing and more unusually may be duplicated. It is a sturdy plant that can reach 40cms with up to 6 loosely arranged flowers and can grow in many habitats from full sun to mid shade. 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 with full growing instructions 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.

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