|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The genus Ophrys is a large group of orchids from the alliance Orchis in the subtribe Orchidinae. There are many natural hybrids. The type species is Ophrys insectifera L.1753|
They are referred to as the "Bee orchids" due to the flowers of some species resemblance to the furry bodies of Bumble Bees and other insects. Their scientific name is derived from the Greek word "ophrys", meaning "eyebrow", referring to the furry edges of the lips of several species.
Ophrys was first mentioned in the book "Natural History" by Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD).
They are terrestrial or ground orchids from central to South Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, up to the Caucasus Mountains, but mostly around the Mediterranean. They are considered the most important group of European terrestrial orchids.
During summer all Ophrys orchids are dormant as an underground bulbous tuber, which serves as a food reserve. In late summer/autumn they develop a rosette of leaves. Also a new tuber starts to grow and matures until the following spring; the old tuber slowly dies. The next spring the flowering stem starts to grow. During flowering the leaves already start to wither.
Every Ophrys orchid has its own pollinator insect and is completely dependent on this species for its survival. Furthermore, duped males are not likely to return. They even ignore other plants of the same species. Therefore, only about 10% of an Ophrys population gets pollinated. This is enough to preserve the population, since each Ophrys orchid produces about 12,000 minute seeds.
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