The Orchid that Looks like a Bee!


Bee Orchid, the orchid that looks like a beeI spy with my little eye a bee on a flower. Or do I? Upon a second glance, that’s not a bee at all! It’s a bee orchid, a type of orchid that looks like a bee resting on a pink flower!

The Bee Orchid, (Ophrys Apifera) can be identified by its bee-shaped, brown and yellow lip and the two smaller antennae-like sepals, surrounded by two pink sepals. As well, the lip of the orchid is covered in fine hairs.

The plant can produce between 6-14 flowers in the months of June and July. It will grow to a height of 15-20 cm tall (6-20 inches).  In the fall, this hardy orchid develops small rosettes of leaves and will continue to grow slowly in the winter.

Interestingly, not only does this orchid look like a bee, it also smells like a female bee to attract male bees. The flower secretes a seductive scent that is identical to the smell of a female bee. Male bees are deceived into mating with the flower, thus pollinating the orchid in the process.

The appearance and the scent of the orchid was evolved to attract pollinators, but despite its efforts, this species is almost exclusively self-pollinating.

The bee orchid is native to  Europe. They are especially common in southern, central and eastern England. But because the plant produces thousands of tiny seeds that can be be transported several kilometers from the original flower, the bee orchid can show up in the most unexpected places.

The bee orchid prefers moist, well-drained soil. They can be found on dry, open grassy areas, usually on limestone. In the wild, they typically grow on industrial waste grounds, quarries and gravel pits.

Climate zones: 7-10

About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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2 Responses to The Orchid that Looks like a Bee!

  1. Pingback: Fun Flower Facts: Vanda Orchid | Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers Presents…

  2. Pingback: Fun Flower Facts: Dendrobium Orchid | Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers Presents…

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