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 Species of the Week – Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Species of the Week – Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)   Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:12 pm

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Did you know that Bee Orchids in Ireland are actually self-pollinated?

Bee Orchids evolved to attract various insect species by mimicking the look and smell of bee and wasp females. Bee Orchids in the Mediterranean area are pollinated by the solitary bee Eucera. In this case the male bees copulate with the lip of the flowers, which look and smell like the females of their own species. How exactly do they do that? Have a look at this great short video by David Attenborough - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Tricking insect into pollination is fascinating, but what is even more interesting is that Bee Orchids in Ireland, UK and Northern Europe are almost exclusively self-pollinated!

Ophrys apifera has given up relying on bees to effect pollination and has evolved to do it all by itself. Its heavy pollinia, which hang on a thread, are blown against the receptive surface of the stigma. (As shown on top right image) Seeds are produced in thousands and can blow several kilometres, so bee orchids can appear in unexpected places, including road cuttings and industrial sites!

Bee Orchids are in flower now and we have seen a few very close to our office. Have you seen any this year? Let us know and don´t forget to post a photograph as well!

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Photographs :
Main image by Andrew Kelly
Side images by BerndH, CC BY-SA 3.0
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gems

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Join date : 2012-08-02
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PostSubject: Re: Species of the Week – Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)   Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:37 pm

wow this is fab

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hoggyhugs



Join date : 2012-03-06
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PostSubject: Re: Species of the Week – Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)   Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:49 pm

They are so pretty.
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