Bee Orchid, a remarkable beauty

10th June 2019

Usual leaf rosettes appeared around February time in a lawn which I've left untreated with fertlizer nor weedkiller for several years. As these rosettes looked like Orchids I've been cutting that lawn around each of them and the result is that Orchrys apifera has appeared this spring, all over this lawn.

This Orchid is apparently pollinated by solitary bees which are attracted not only by the appearance of the flower lip but also because of the release of bee female pheromones scent. Most of the time this Orchid self pollinates without insect which is a unique feature. By the time they are ready to be scattered, the seeds thin as dust are already impregnated with a symbiotic fungus which will feed the new plant all its life, hosted in the plant tuber in the ground.

This remarkable Orchid can stay below ground for years without coming out until appropriate conditions are met.