The Ophrys or mimic orchids are the best known and most
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
orchid Ophrys insectifera
Swift Hill, Gloucestershire,
Like tiny little aliens on what is usually a very thin and
difficult to spot plant.
Early Spider Orchid 14
Early Spider Orchid 09
spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes
Durleston Head, Dorset,,
Hairy little aliens with braces?
Bee Orchid 01 crop
Bee Orchid 36 crop
orchid Ophrys apifera
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.
the Orchid Guide