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The Ophrys or mimic orchids are the best known and most intriguing orchids.

Their flowers have evolved to mimic insects such that they may copulate with them!  This transfers the pollen by the use of clever hanging pollinia that stick to the amorous insect.  This, in evolutionary terms is astounding and one has to wonder just how evolution has the time to operate in this way (like lots of other things I marvel at in nature!).  However, I personally have never seen this "pseudocopulation" in action and perhaps wonder if their resemblances are coincidental - they attract all manner of other insects by odour, particularly flies.




Fly Orchid 04





Fly Orchid 10 crop



Fly orchid    Ophrys insectifera

Swift Hill, Gloucestershire, June 2007.


Like tiny little aliens on what is usually a very thin and difficult to spot plant.




Early Spider Orchid 14





Early Spider Orchid 09


Early spider orchid  Ophrys sphegodes

Durleston Head, Dorset,, May 2007.


Hairy little aliens with braces?







Bee Orchid 01 crop                                                                                             Bee Orchid 36 crop



Bee orchid   Ophrys apifera

Gloucestershire, 2007.


Don't look like bees to me; more like happy laughing little clowns with pink angelic wings.

This orchid is susceptible to mutation and the picture on the left is one of the many varieties (var. belgarum?).

Both photos taken in Gloucestershire.




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