|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
This is probably our best known and well-loved orchid. There are five or six grey-green, strap-shaped basal leaves, often scorched at the tips by flowering time, two stem leaves and long, leaf-like bracts. The stem, 15-50cm tall, bears two to seven (rarely ten) flowers. The flowers, which resemble a fat bumblebee, have three erect pink sepals, each marked with three green veins. The upper petals are brown with inrolled margins, so that they appear cylindrical. The three-lobed lip is a rich red-brown, the central lobe round and convex, velvety in texture with 'U'- shaped bands of dark brown and gold at the base. The side lobes form rounded, furry humps. The yellow apex of the lip is folded back. The column is prominent and beaked, with a fanciful resemblance to a duck's head. In this lie the two large pollinia, their caudicles running in deep grooves. There are eight distinct forms, other than the normal form, which are shown in the next species account (Bee Orchid - varieties and forms). Although normally monocarpic, plants have been known to flower for eight successive seasons.
Confusion with Late Spider-orchid, which grows only in east Kent, is unlikely, as that species has bigger flowers with triangular, orange-pink upper petals, and a square lip.
The hybrid with Fly Orchid (see here) was recorded for the first time in the wild near Bristol, where it flowered from 1968-1985. It was found for the second time in Sussex in 1998. The hybrid with the Late Spider-orchid was dubiously recorded in Kent in 1926 but may have occurred since.
Grows in a wide range of habitat on chalk, clay and calcareous sand, in grassland, scrub, sand dunes, limestone pavement, roadside verges, abandoned quarries and industrial waste ground where weathering has produced a base-rich substrate. Although most sites are well-drained, it can also flourish in damp areas. It is an active coloniser, sometimes appearing in large numbers on newly graded and sown road margins.
Although nearly always self-pollinated, pollination by bees of the genera Andrena and Eucera may occur rarely.
Habitat destruction and picking still present problems.
uleko, LordPotty, anel, Argus, nirmalroberts, angybone has marked this note useful
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- [2007-11-06 4:25]
Wonderful capture of this "bunch" of Bee Orchids very nicely composed. It is one of my favourit Ophrys sp. as I love their round Bumblebee shape. Great sharpness and lovely natural colours that stand out against the soft background. I've never seen so many together before!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla
A nicely composed shot of these Bee Orchids.
You certainly have an impressive collection of European Orchids.
Thanks for showing us all these wonderful wildflowers.
- [2007-11-06 4:47]
Wonderful flower picture. Great composition, beautiful light.
- [2007-11-06 5:46]
Excellent capture of a group of Bee Orchids, a species that we have to travel abroad to see.
Superb composition with fine colours and sharpness against a pleasing OF natural BG.
Well done and thanks,
Hi Anita and Mike,
Superb composition. Beautiful flowers. TFS.
very nice, especially the self-pollinating middle flwoer. TFS Ori
This is a new technique of photography for you. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something different...and it looks wonderful!
Very scenic artistic depiction of these orchids. Great composition!!!
Voilà une de mes espèces préférée. Même si elle n'est pas rare, je la trouve fascinante pour ses couleurs, ses formes compexes, son port spectaculaire et son air sympathique (très "expressive" avec ses pseudo-yeux).