Ophrys apifera

Bee orchid                                                                                                        Μελισσάκι


Orchidaceae - the orchid family                                                                      Monocot

 
 
 

As the name suggests this orchid has evolved to resembles a bee. Ophrys apifera comes in two forms, one has pale mauve sepals and the other, white; both have pale green hairy petals and the lip is deep brown with symmetrical patterning in cream, purple and golden brown with two distinct spots. There are distinctly hairy lateral projections mimicking wings in motion. 

The column, which is formed from the fused stamens and pistil, the male and female parts; it is translucent green arching up and over with easily detachable pollinia, which is carried on the back of the pollinating insect from one flower to another. If the pollinia is not removed the pistil arches over and the pollen self fertilises the flower; this is the only orchid with this mechanism.

 
25-30mm, 20-35cm                                                                                        JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
 
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