Bee Orchid

Latin name: Ophrys apifera

Size: Grows to a height of between 15 and 35cms.

Distribution: Found mostly in southern Ireland and England and is quite rare.

Flowering months: Usually appears between April and June.

Habitat: Low lying woodland and scrub areas.

Special features: The members of the genus Ophrys are the "bee" orchids, with flowers cunningly developed to resemble insects such as bees, flies or spiders feeding on a flower. The bee orchid, looks very much like a queen bee. Because of this resemblance, male bees (drones) visit the flowers again and again, thus picking up and distributing the orchid's pollen. The leaves are usually oval or lance-shaped basal leaves, with narrower leaves clasping the stem. The sepals are usually pale pink, but sometimes white, and each has a green central stripe.

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