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Ophrys doerfleri

Although first discovered on Gavdos Island in 1904, O. doerfleri wasn't formally described until Fleischmann did so more than 20 years later in 1925. At this time the species was closely linked to O. cretica.

In 2005, Helmut Presser studied several Cretan colonies of what were thought to be the typical Greek O. mammosa but it was eventually concluded that these plants were in fact the same as those collected from Gavdos and named O. doerfleri. By way of complication Messrs Baumann and Lorenz (also in 2005) had separately been reviewing this species and named it O. mammosa subsp falsomammosa.

Given that the original name (O. doerfleri) had been incorrectly linked to a species of the O. reinholdii group the latter name was felt to be more appropriate and may well be the one that goes forward. Nonetheless it has now been agreed that O. mammosa does not occur on Crete and that currently the group is represented by O. doerfleri.

This species is smaller flowered, more spindly and sepals much lighter in colour but is otherwise very similar to O. mammosa. Around a third of flowers possess pink sepals, this being a feature unknown outside Crete and reminiscent of O. spruneri. The single illustration opposite dates from late April and was recorded at Vai in the east of Crete where the species is considered most common.