Ophrys Apifera, Bee Orchid





There are several varieties of the bee orchid including var belgarum which has a more rounded lip without fuzzy margins, var chlorantha where the sepals are white and the lip lighter in colour, often greenish, and, the most distinctive, var trollii, the wasp orchid, where the lip is not curved under at the tip but instead extended, like the stinger of a wasp

Common name:
Bee orchid
Scientific name:
Ophrys apifera
Main flower color:
Range:
Lowland regions of England, Wales and Ireland
Height:
Up to 40 cm
Habitat:
Dry, grassy places, often on calcareous soil
Flowers:
The sepals are pink with a faint green midvein, the lateral pair spreading, the middle angled upwards; all are similar in appearance. The two upper petals are short and linear, positioned 90 degrees apart, while the lower petal is much larger, and bee-like in appearance - curved smoothly downwards along the margins, coloured reddish or light brown, partly furry, with lighter, yellowish markings towards the base, including a pair of dots resembling eyes. Flowers form at well-separated intervals; typically four to six per stem
Leaves:
Ovate, greyish-green, in a basal rosette; also a few sheathing leaves along the stem
Season:
June to July
Rarity:
★★★★★