by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Jul 2024      ()
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Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora
  (Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid)

Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora  (ORCHIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Jul-2009 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora - datasheet created on Jul-2009. Retrieved from on 15-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora(Ten.) Kreutz
Published in Kompend. Eur. Orchid. : 118 (2004)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Ophrys grandiflora Ten.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Orchidaceae Juss. (The Orchid Family)
41 species from the Orchidaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid, Sicilian Sawfly Orchid

Maltese name(s) :

Naħla kbira

Status for Malta :

Subendemic. Found in Malta and neighbouring territories such as in Sicily, Lampedusa, Pantelleria, and other islands.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule III and VI of [S.L. 549.44] (strictly protected species)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

March – April

Colour of Flowers:

Pink or Brown


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Ophrys: Eyebrow, referring to the brown, furry edges found in the flowering lips of several. (Latin origin )
tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora:

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Photos in this profile are not from the Maltese Islands and are intended for educational purposes. If you find in Malta plants which look similar to the ones illustrated below kindly email me and send some photos for verification. This species is very rare and if still exists in our islands, it should be safeguarded. If you would like to submit photos in the website, you will be acknowledged accordingly on the photo. Many thanks to Alenka for submitting these beautiful photos to

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Grassland, garigue, rocky scrub; calcicole.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Garigue and steppes somewhat preffering sites close to the coast.
Botanical Description: Plant 10-45 cm. Basal leaves ovate to lanceolate, subobtuse or acute, the cauline similar, acute. Spike 3- to 8-flowered, lax. Perianth-segments purplish or purplish-violet, rarely whitish; outer 6-12 mm, broadly ovate, obtuse, glabrous, concave; inner usually 1/3 as long as the outer, broadly triangular, papillose-velutinous. Labellum (8-)11-14 x 11-14 mm, obovate, square or flabelliform, convex, entire, rarely oblong and emarginate or indistinctly 3-lobed, purplish-brown, velutinous, usually with a wide, yellow, densely hairy marginal zone, with a glabrous appendage, with short, inconspicuous basal protuberances; speculum reduced, often 2-fid, rarely scutelliform, composed of brown spots. Connective obtuse.
Chromosome number: 2n=36
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, C. & S. Portugal.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Bl Co Cr Cy Ga Gr Hs It Li Lu Ma Sa Si Tn Tu(A E)

Links & Further literature (4 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Two hybrid orchids described from Malta: Ophrys tumentia nothosubsp. tumentia and Ophrys tumentia nothosubsp.sancti-martinii Stephen Mifsud  (2014)
Recent observations on Ophrys-species and hybrids of the Maltese Archipelago Stephen Mifsud & Leslie Lewis  (2011)
Recent observations on the Ophrys of Malta and Gozo: an Addendum Stephen Mifsud & leslie Lewis  (2013)
The Ophrys iricolor group from the book Orchids of the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora   -   Image Code: OPHTG-0.
Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora / Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid / Naħla kbira
   Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora   -   Image Code: OPHTG-1.
Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora / Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid / Naħla kbira
   Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora   -   Image Code: OPHTG-2.
Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora / Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid / Naħla kbira
   Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora   -   Image Code: OPHTG-3.
Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora / Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid / Naħla kbira
   Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora   -   Image Code: OPHTG-4.
Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. grandiflora / Large-flowered Sawfly Orchid / Naħla kbira

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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