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Ophrys massiliensis is an orchid, which is occurring at mossy, often north-exposed sites along the Mediterranean coast from the French departement Bouches-du-Rhone to western Liguria in Italy, with an emphasis between Marseille and Bandol, where it usually grows at northexposed slopes and in ravines (calanques), as well as the region behind Nice and neighbouring Italian valleys near the French border. At some of its coastal sites Ophrys massiliensis starts to flower already in january, it is the earliest orchid of the French mainland.

As an own species it has been described in 1999 by VIGLIONE and VÉLA, thus separated from the next-related Ophrys sphegodes. The labellums of most of its blooms are smaller than those of typical Ophrys sphegodes, however not rarely also big-flowered blooms are available at several sites. As far as I know, unfortunately the pollinating insect of Ophrys massiliensis is still unknown.

At several sometimes wet sites within the distribution area of Ophrys massiliensis slender plants are available, which are assumed to belong to Ophrys classica by some French orchidophiles. An example are the orchids from Breil-sur-Roya near the French-Italian border, which are shown in the two most right images.


Ophrys massiliensis
left:   F S.Cyr-sur-Mer 7.3.00
right: F Marseille 11.3.01

Ophrys massiliensis
F Blausasc 6.3.00

Ophrys massiliensis
F Breil-sur-Roya 12.4.04

  
 
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