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Ophrys insectifera

Ophrys insectifera
Photo Information
Copyright: anita and mike allsopp (juanit) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 5 N: 270] (1522)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-17
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Canon 400D, Tamrom 90mm f2.8 DI
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Orchids of Europe, Orchids of Great Britain [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-02 8:26
Viewed: 3965
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Fly Orchid
Ophrys insectifera
previously: Orchis muscifera

The three or four dark green, blunt, floppy basal leaves, are very shiny on the upper surface. The stem is spindly, 15-60cm tall, and bears one or two small leaves. There are two to ten (rarely up to 20), well-spaced flowers, which bear an astonishing resemblance to an insect. The three sepals are pointed, yellow-green and stiff. The upper petals are wire-like, purple-brown and velvety, looking just like antennae. The lip is long and three-lobed, the lateral lobes rounded. The lip is rich mahogany-brown, velvety in texture, and has a brilliant band of iridescent blue - the speculum - across the middle. There are two glistening patches at the base of the lip that resemble eyes. There is a distinctive form - var. ochroleuca which has all green flowers and a white speculum. Flowers with yellow bordered lips are also occasionally recorded. Peloric flowers with multiple lips are not uncommon.


The hybrid with Early Spider-orchid has been recorded in Kent, and with Bee Orchid in both Avon and West Sussex.

Grows in open woodland, notably the Beech 'hangers' which are a feature of the North Downs of Kent and Surrey. In northern England, it is found up to 400m, and in Anglesey it grows in calcareous flushes and fens. It also grows on limestone pavement and on the wet margins of the seasonal lakes (turloughs) in the Burren in Ireland.

The plant secretes sex pheromones that attract male Digger Wasps. The wasps attempt to copulate with the flowers, resulting in pollinia being stuck to their heads. Once the female wasps emerge, some two weeks after the males, the Fly Orchids are left alone. Ants also remove pieces of pollinia, probably as food, and may act as accidental pollinators.

Many sites were lost prior to 1930, since when it has continued to decrease due to scrub encroachment and woodland clearance

In England, grows primarily in the south, from Kent to Dorset, in the Cotswolds and Chilterns, north to Yorkshire and Westmorland. It grows on Anglesey in Wales, and in central Ireland and the western counties of Clare and Galway.Var. ochroleuca has been recorded in Hampshire,Wiltshire and Kent, and flowers with yellow-bordered lips in Surrey, Hampshire and Anglesey

Height: 15-60cm
No. of flowers: usually 2-10

May and June

SOURCE: http://www.britainsorchids.fieldguide.co.uk/?PP=species_account&SPID=58&SHC=1&PSD=1&PHPSESSID=9bcc3cfed34c7a0bdf6fc6887b20a72f

SunToucher, uleko, anel has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Belgerdy: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-04 06:52
To SunToucher: VliegenorchisBelgerdy 1 06-02 04:18
To anel: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-10 11:04
To uleko: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-04 09:07
To SunToucher: Thanksjuanit 2 06-03 07:27
To angybone: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-03 06:26
To snaphappy: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-03 06:22
To fragman: Thanksjuanit 1 06-03 06:19
To CatherineD: Thankyoujuanit 1 06-03 06:18
To lorendubois: Mercijuanit 1 06-03 06:16
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Critiques [Translate]

Bonsoir Anita, et Mike
Merci pour cet Ophrys, dont les détails et les couleurs sont très interessants.
à bientôt

Hi Anita and Mike,
I'm still looking for this orchid, but I am afraid that I will not find it in my country. So its good to know that it is growing in the UK.
The photo has a wonderful clean feel to it where the OOF BG gives good seperation from the flower. The bonus of the spider makes the photo even better.

Hello Anita and Mike,
Very interesting orchid, with nice colours and background and a spider as bonus. Best regards,

excelent portrait of this bee-orchid, TFS Ori

good image and the spider adds to the interest. excellent notes to go with it i cheat too as it saves typing it all out.

Another beautiful specimen. I love going through your gallery. There is such diversity...each orchid is such an individual. You do an excellent job drawing out this point.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-06-03 13:05]
  • [+]

Hello Anita,
I love this dainty Orchid and the flowers really look like insects. Once I actually caught a Digger Wasp on a flower. Your capture is wonderful, great focus, clear details and natural colours against a beautiful background. It's a large and fine specimen too and an extra bonus is the little spider! Excellent!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-06-05 2:00]
  • [+]

Hello Anita,
Very fine picture of these marvellous Orchids, which I have the pleasure to see in our Botanical Garden, but of course it is not the same as in nature. I don't like so much the orchids we can buy in our flowershops, but the fine wild ones are of great beauty.
Have a nice day


Very nice early morning shot. I'm still looking for this one, but it's been eluding me so far.


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