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Bee orchid

Bee orchid

At long last I’ve been vindicated for my sentimental style of strimming in the orchard.

I leave the odd little island where I think the flowers are particularly pretty or there’s a species I want to encourage.

The net result is that rather than a nice, even greensward, I create a piece of ground which looks as if it’s had the mange.

On the prowl with my camera, this orchid caught my eye in the middle of an island of longer grass.

It’s a short flower so I’m lucky to have spotted it and I can only hope I didn’t mow any others down.

Its name comes from the fact that it mimics a female bee in order to attract male bees for the purpose of pollination.

The bee orchid which is native to the UK is apparently a bit behind the times because the particular species of bee it’s trying to attract is now extinct, so it has to self-pollinate. I don’t know whether this is also true of Italian bee orchids.

  1. Pete Williams
    June 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    A lovely photo and I commend your gardening policy. However, this isn’t a Bee Orchid. It’s actually a Late Spider Orchid (Ophrys fuciflora) and is fairy rare here in Britain (not sure about Italy!)
    The main difference is that the sepals are pink as well as the petals and the design on the lip is more like a spider than a bee.
    Well done on finding it – DON’T mow it down or dig it up!

    • June 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment – it’s much appreciated. I find these sorts of orchid quite difficult to differentiate as there seem to be so many variations within one species, so I’m glad to have had your help. Sadly this year I couldn’t find any sign of the orchid in the same place in the orchard. However I’ve checked the photos I’ve taken in places where no mowing is done and as far as I can tell they’re all Late Spider Orchids!

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