Bee Orchid (Ophyrs apifera) - British species of orchid now rare, pictured on the banks of a railway cutting in Bedfordshire. The Bee Orchid grows to a height of 15–50 centimetres. It develops small rosettes of leaves in autumn. They slowly grow during winter. Basal leaves are oblong, upper leaves and bracts are ovate-lanceolate and sheathing. The plant blooms from mid-April to July producing a spike composed from one to twelve flowers. The flowers have large sepals, with a central green rib and their colour varies from white to pink, while petals are short, pubescent, yellow to greenish. The labellum is trilobed, with two pronounced humps on the hairy lateral lobes, the median lobe is hairy and similar to the abdomen of a bee. It is quite variable in the pattern of colouration, but usually brownish-red with yellow markings.
23rd May 2005 by Diane Earl
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+
Flower orchid plants nature rare botany
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